中秋节 ( Zhōngqiūjié ), also known as the Moon Festival, is a traditional festival celebrated by Chinese people.
On the 15th day of the 8th month of the Chinese lunar calendar ( 农历; Nónglì ), the festival is held with a full moon at night, believing it’s the brightest & biggest moon of the year. It coincides with the harvest time in the middle of Autumn & usually falls around mid-September to early October on the Gregorian calendar.
China has celebrated the harvest during the autumn full moon since the Shang dynasty ( 1600–1046 BCE ). However, it gained popularity during the Tang dynasty ( 618-907 CE ) and it has remained one of the most famous festivities ever since.
The festival not only celebrates the harvest but it encourages the gathering of family & friends, highlighting the value of family reunion.
In addition, praying for beauty, longevity, good future is also one of the fundamental concepts of the event. Everything, however, revolves around being together.
In our modern days, people have fun together with outdoor reunions, usually watching the moon, lighting up lanterns ( used mainly to symbolize fertility ) & eating the traditional food of the festival: the mooncake. ( 月饼, yuèbǐng )
This round pastry is made of a rich thick filling mainly made from red beans, paired with different ingredients in order to enhance the sweetness or the savory taste. While the fillings can be of many different types, the crust is typically just a thick, tender pastry skin.
Traditional mooncakes have an imprint on top consisting of the Chinese characters for “longevity” or “harmony“, as well as the name of the bakery and the filling inside.
This year, the festivals falls on the 1st october, coinciding with National Day of the People’s Republic of China ( 国庆节, guóqìng jié ) so it has an even higher meaning for the Chinese population.
Make sure to celebrate the day with friends & relatives, and have fun during one of these unique coincidences!