Since the Moon Festival is always during or after harvest time, there’s no better time than this to celebrate the treasure and abundance of nature. Moon Festival is a time to gather with family and friends under the full moon sky while eating moon cakes, pomelo fruit, and having barbecues.
Moon Festival zhōng qiū jié 中秋节
Hou Yi Hòu Yì 后羿
Chang'e Cháng'é 嫦娥
moon cake yuè bǐng 月饼
admiring the moon shǎng yuè 赏月
reunion tuán yuán 团圆
Barbecue kǎo ròu 烤肉
pomelo fruit yòuzi 柚子
As with most Chinese festivals, there is a story for it, and there are many versions of the Moon Festival legend. The traditional reason is that Mid-Autumn Festival is an inherited custom of moon sacrificial ceremonies. The ancient Chinese observed that the movement of the moon had a close relationship with changes of the seasons and agricultural production. Hence, to express their thanks to the moon and celebrate the harvest, they offered a sacrifice to the moon on autumn days. And version number two is more widely spread among people, which involves a romantic yet sad story -- The Archer Hou Yi and His Wife Chang’e.
Romantically speaking, the festival is to commemorate Chang E, who in order to protect her beloved husband’s elixir, ate it herself and flew to the moon. In addition to this romantic legend, there are many other legends and stories related to this grand festival. The most well-known ones include Jade Rabbit Pounding Medicine and Wu Gang Chopping Laurel Tree.
Chinese people are known for their passion for food, and food at Mid-Autumn Festival is no exception. The moon cake is definitely one of the favorite festival foods. They are round, symbolizing the reunion of a family. So it is easy to understand how the eating of moon cakes under the round moon can evoke longing for distant relatives and friends.
Actually, moon cake is a pastry stuffed with filling such as egg yolk, lotus seed paste, red bean paste, coconut, walnuts, or dates pine nuts, walnuts, sunflower seeds, sesame seeds, crystal sugar, and many other delicacies. The tops of Moon cakes usually have Chinese characters pressed into them representing longevity or harmony. Moon cakes have various flavors according to the region. Nowadays, people present moon cakes to relatives and friends to demonstrate that they wish them a long and happy life.
According to legend, eating moon cakes as a celebration originates from the Tang Dynasty. In the reign of Emperor Tang Gaozu, the great commander Li Jing successfully squashed the Hun revolts and came back to his home on August 15 of the Chinese lunar calendar.
If you are luckily invited to join dinner with a Chinese family, here are the tips you might find useful.
- Should I bring something ?
我要不要带点儿什么？wǒ yào bú yào dài diǎnr shénme? Should I bring something?
- Always praise the food
这个菜真好吃！Zhège cài zhēn hǎochī! This dish is really delicious!
你的手艺真好！Nǐ de shǒuyì zhēn hǎo! Your cooking skill is really good!