6th September 2014, 25th September 2015
Mid Autumn Festival (Moon Cake Festival). The moon is always at its fullest at this time of year, and traditionally the Emperor made sacrifices to the Moon at this time – nowadays people eat moon cakes instead which are filled with red bean paste, lotus paste, nuts or egg yolks, stay up late to admire the full moon and think of home.
The origin of the Mid-Autumn festival comes from the ancient Chinese story about the Goddess Chang’e (嫦娥) and her husband Houyi (后羿). Houyi was a great warrior who was famous for his bravery and artillery skills. When it was too hot on earth due to their being 10 suns in the sky, Houyi shot 9 down leaving 1 to look after the earth. The Gods were so impressed with Houyi that they gave him the Elixir of life. Houyi’s disciple Feng Meng desired the Elixir from Houyi, so when Houyi when hunting, Feng Meng tried to steal the elixir for himself. He broke into Houyi’s house and demanded that his wife, Chang’e, give him the elixir. Chang’e however refused and took the elixir herself. Chang’e suddenly shot to the sky and became the Goddess of the moon. The Mid-Autumn festival is based now around the anniversary of Chang’e’s transformation from human to Godess.
A central theme of the Mid-Autumn festival is the moon. The moon has held importance for centuries in China. The moon is seen as a symbol of rejuvenation and vitality. The moon is also a symbol of femininity and womanhood. Many women during the Min-Autumn festival will pray to the moon to wish for pregnancy and children. The main deity of worship during the Mid-Autumn
festival is the goddess Chang’e, and the main food of the Mid-Autumn festival is the Moon Cake, a delicious sweet pastry in the shape of a full moon, filled with red bean or lotus bean.
The moon cake not only represents the importance of the moon its round shape also represents unity, togetherness and completeness. The Moon cake has become so popular and so synonymous with the Mid-Autumn Festival that an additional name for the celebrations is the ‘Moon Cake Festival’.
China Holidays has organised a Mid-Autumn Festival themed itinerary for this year which will run over the Mid-Autumn festival period. In this itinerary, our customers will visit many spiritual and religious areas of importance in Beijing and Shanghai, as well as enjoy a full day of Moon festival celebrations in the gorgeous garden city of Suzhou.