What Happens During the Moon Festival?

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What Happens During the Moon Festival?

The Moon Festival, also known as the Mid-Autumn Festival, is an important traditional Chinese festival that is celebrated when the moon is at its fullest and brightest. It usually falls on the 15th day of the eighth lunar month, which typically lands in late September or early October in the Western calendar. During this festival, families come together to enjoy delicious food, appreciate the full moon, and pay respects to their ancestors.

Story Behind the Festival

The Moon Festival has a long history that dates back to the Tang Dynasty (618-907 AD). According to legend, there was a brave archer named Houyi who shot down nine suns to save the people from an oppressive heat. As a reward, the Queen of Heaven presented him with an elixir of immortality, which he refused to consume without his wife Chang’e’s consent. One day, while Houyi was out, a wicked man tried to steal the elixir from Chang’e. To protect her husband’s wish, Chang’e consumed the elixir and flew to the moon where she has been living ever since.

Family Reunions

The Moon Festival is a time for family reunions. Many people travel long distances to spend time with their loved ones. They prepare a wide variety of foods such as mooncakes, fruit, and traditional Chinese dishes. Mooncakes are the most iconic food of the festival. They are round pastries with sweet filling like lotus seed paste, red bean paste, or egg yolks. People usually eat mooncakes while admiring the full moon, which is said to be the most beautiful of the year.

Cultural Activities

Besides enjoying the food and the moon, many cultural activities take place during the Moon Festival. Lanterns of various shapes and sizes are hung in public places, and children play with lanterns in parks or at home. The lanterns usually have riddles written on them, and it is customary to guess the answer to the riddle. Another popular activity is dragon and lion dances. They are traditional Chinese dances that are performed with colorful costumes, music, and drumming. People also make offerings to the moon goddess Chang’e and their ancestors by burning incense or lighting candles.

What Happens During the Moon Festival?

The Moon Festival, also known as the Mid-Autumn Festival, is a traditional holiday celebrated by many Asian cultures, including China, Vietnam, and Taiwan. It falls on the 15th day of the eighth lunar month, which usually falls in September or October. This festival is a time for families to gather together and celebrate the harvest, as well as honor their ancestors and traditions. Here are some of the most frequently asked questions about the Moon Festival:

What is the meaning behind the Moon Festival?

The Moon Festival is rooted in ancient Chinese folklore. Legend has it that a beautiful goddess named Chang’e lived on the moon with her rabbit companion. During the festival, people celebrate Chang’e and offer her special foods and teas as a sign of honor and respect. The round shape of the moon cakes served during the festival also represents family reunion and completeness.

What are the typical activities during the Moon Festival?

Family gatherings are the most important part of the Moon Festival. People typically travel back to their hometowns to be with their loved ones during this time. Homes and streets are decorated with colorful lanterns, and moon cakes are shared among family members and friends. Some cities also organize parades, dragon and lion dances, and other cultural performances.

What foods are associated with the Moon Festival?

Moon cakes are the most famous and traditional food associated with the Moon Festival. These small pastries are made with sweet filling and a thick crust, and they often contain salted duck egg yolks, lotus seed paste, or red bean paste. Other popular foods include pomelos, which are large citrus fruits with a sweet and sour taste, and tea made from osmanthus flowers.

What is the significance of the lanterns during the Moon Festival?

Lanterns are an important part of the Moon Festival, symbolizing good luck and fortune. They are often designed with intricate patterns and shapes, and people write wishes and messages on them before releasing them into the sky. The lanterns are also used to light up the streets and homes during the festival.

What are some traditional customs during the Moon Festival?

There are many traditional customs associated with the Moon Festival, depending on the region and culture. In China, for example, children often carry brightly lit lanterns and walk around neighborhoods, singing songs and reciting poems. People also perform the lion and dragon dances to ward off evil spirits and bring good luck. Other customs include admiring the moon and enjoying a cup of tea while sitting outside with family and friends.

What Happens During the Moon Festival?

The Moon Festival, also known as the Mid-Autumn Festival, is one of the most important festivals celebrated by Chinese people, as well as many other Asian cultures. This festival falls on the 15th day of the 8th month in the Chinese calendar, which usually occurs in September or October in the Gregorian calendar. It is also a public holiday in China, Hong Kong, and Taiwan, and it is often considered as the Chinese equivalent of Thanksgiving. So, what happens during the Moon Festival? In this article, we will explore the traditions, legends, and customs behind this festival.

The Origin of the Moon Festival

Before we delve into the modern-day celebration of the Moon Festival, it’s important to understand its origin. The Moon Festival has a long history, dating back over 3,000 years to the Shang Dynasty (1600-1046 BC). According to Chinese mythology, the moon is a symbol of reunion, so the festival was originally a celebration of family reunion and harvest. It was also said that the moon was the brightest and roundest on this day of the year, which added to the significance of the festival.

Traditional Foods

Food is an important part of the Moon Festival. Families gather together to enjoy a feast of traditional dishes, the most notable of which is the mooncake. The traditional mooncake is round and has a thin crust filled with various sweet or savory fillings, such as lotus seed paste or salted egg yolk. In recent years, there has been a growing trend of creating various flavors of mooncakes, such as chocolate or green tea, to meet the changing tastes of the younger generations.

Another popular food item during the Moon Festival is the pomelo, a large citrus fruit. It is said that eating pomelo during the festival will bring good luck and happiness to the family. Other traditional foods include taro, which is believed to help prevent disease, and duck, which represents fidelity and completeness.

Customs and Activities

In addition to food, the Moon Festival is known for its customs and activities. One of the most popular activities is admiring the moon, which is at its brightest and roundest on this day. Families will gather outdoors or on rooftops to enjoy the moon together. Children often carry brightly colored lanterns, which add to the festive atmosphere.

Some families also like to play games, such as dice or moon-watching riddles. Moon-watching riddles are a type of riddle that describes an object, person, or place, and the answer is often related to the moon or Chinese culture. Solving these riddles is a fun and interactive way for families to spend time together and keep their minds sharp.

Regional Variations

Although the Moon Festival is celebrated throughout China and other Asian countries, there are regional variations in the way it is celebrated. For example, in Southern China, the festival is also known as the “Women’s Festival,” and it is customary for women to give gifts to each other and to their ancestors. In Taiwan, the festival is celebrated with fire dragon dances, where a bamboo structure shaped like a dragon is lit on fire and carried through the streets.


In conclusion, the Moon Festival is a time for family reunion, celebrating the harvest, and enjoying traditional foods and activities. Its rich history and cultural significance have made it an important holiday for Chinese people and others in Asia. So, next time when the Moon Festival is around the corner, join the celebration and experience the beauty of this ancient tradition.

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What Happens During the Moon Festival?