The Chinese Mid-Autumn Festival or “Zhōng Qiū Jié” (中秋節) is one of China’s most important festivals, and a special time for family get-togethers. Let’s learn more about the Mid-Autumn Festival’s unique legends and traditions- and of course the tasty moon cakes!
The Chinese Mid-Autumn Festival 或 “中秋节” 是中国最重要的节日之一，也是家庭聚会的好时间。 让我们更多地了解中秋节的独特传说和传统 - 当然还有美味的月饼！
The Mid-Autumn occurs on the 15th day of the eighth lunar month each year (falling in September or October on our familiar solar calendar). It is a harvest festival, celebrated by people in China and Vietnam and other Asian countries. Because this holiday is based on the lunar calendar, where it falls on the solar calendar varies from year to year. Here are some upcoming dates:
2018: September 24
2019: September 13
2020: October 1
2021: September 21
As the festival is celebrated at the midpoint of the lunar month (also the middle of autumn), it is called the Mid-Autumn Festival. The Mid-Autumn Festival is also known as the “Moon Festival” as it is observed during a bright, full moon.
中秋发生在每年农历八月十五 （阳历的九月至十月间）。 这是一个丰收的节日，中国和越南和其它一些亚洲国家的人民都会庆祝中秋。 因为这个假期是以农历为基础的，所以它在阳历上的年份不同。 这是一些即将到来的日期：
由于节日是在农历正月的中点（也是秋天的中间）庆祝的，所以它被称为The Mid-Autumn Festival。 The Mid-Autumn Festival也被称为“Moon Festival”，因为它在明亮的满月期间的节日。
THE STORY OF THE MID-AUTUMN FESTIVAL 中秋节的故事
There are many folktales surrounding the Mid-Autumn Festival. Here is a popular version among Chinese children:
A long time ago in China there were ten suns in the sky. Because of this it was very hot! The blazing suns dried up the rivers and there was a serious drought. People were running out of water to drink and the crops in the rice fields were withering. A famous archer, Hòu yì, was summoned to shoot down 9 of the suns in the sky. He did it successfully and was rewarded a “pill of the immortality.” Hòu yì went home and gave the precious pill to his wife, Cháng’é, for safekeeping. A visitor of the archer’s, however, heard about this pill and wanted to steal it from his wife. As the visitor was about to steal the pill from her Cháng é swallowed it. After she took the pill Cháng é felt lighter and lighter. Then she started to float. She flew all the way to the moon. When Cháng é got to the moon she coughed up the pill and the pill became a rabbit. The rabbit was the only companion Cháng é- the Moon Fairy- had on the moon and is named the “Jade Rabbit.”
When people talk about the “lady in the moon”, they are talking about Cháng é, the Moon Fairy.
CHARACTERS IN THE STORY
The famous archer – Hòu yì – 后羿
The moon fairy – Cháng é – 嫦娥
The jade rabbit – Yù tù – 玉兔
弓箭手 - Hòuyì - 后羿
月亮仙女 - Chángé - 嫦娥
玉兔 - Yùtù - 玉兔
THE MOONCAKES 月饼
Mooncakes are out in the market weeks before the Mid-Autumn Festival. They are a seasonal gift among friends, family and business partners. Mooncakes are available at bakeries and restaurants. When you see the mooncakes for sale it is a sign that the Mid-Autumn Festival is coming. There are various fillings in the mooncakes. The traditional ones have sweet fillings such as red bean paste, lotus seed paste, and Chinese date paste. You will also see the above flavors with one or two salty duck egg yolks inside. They are delicious but also high in calories. With the current awareness on healthy eating we now see smaller sized mooncakes and low calorie fillings of green tea, mochi, and even fruit.
FAVORITE MOONCAKE FILLINGS
Red bean paste – Hóng dòu 紅豆
Lotus seed paste – Lián zǐ 蓮(莲)子
Chinese date paste – Zǎo ní 棗(枣)泥
Egg yolk – Dàn huáng 蛋黃
在中秋节前几周，月饼出现在市场上。 它们是朋友，家人和商业伙伴之间的节日性礼物。 面包店和餐馆提供月饼。 当你看到月饼出售时，这是中秋节即将到来的标志。 月饼中有各种馅料。 传统的有红豆沙，莲子酱和中国枣酱等甜馅。 您还可以看到上面的味道，里面有一个或两个咸鸭蛋黄。 它们味道鲜美，但热量也很高。 随着目前对健康饮食的认识，我们现在看到更小的月饼和低卡路里的绿茶，麻薯，甚至水果馅料。
红豆沙 - Hóngdòu红豆
莲子酱 - Liánzǐ 莲子
中国枣子 - Zǎoní 枣泥
蛋黄 - Dánhuáng 蛋黄
Let’s take a look at this video, showing how mooncakes are made!
FAMILY TRADITIONS 家庭传统
Family Reunions 家庭团聚
A long time ago in China, fall was the season for harvest and, following that, the time for people working out of town to return home to be with their families. This tradition of traveling home to visit family remains to this day. Because of this, the Mid-Autumn Festival is thought of as a time for family reunion. Family members who work in different cities or provinces go home and enjoy an abundant family dinner.
After the dinner families will have mooncakes and go outside to appreciate the moon in their yard or in the park. This is also the time for the children to look at the moon and see if they can see the shadow of the Moon Fairy or the Jade rabbit. With the landing of the astronauts on the moon we all know there is no moon fairy but the beautiful, enchanting story of the moon lady still has its charm in Chinese culture.
很久以前，在中国，秋天是收获的季节，之后，在城外工作的人们回家的时间与家人在一起。 这种回家探亲的传统至今仍然存在。 因此，中秋节被认为是家庭团聚的时刻。 在不同城市或省份工作的家庭成员回家享受丰盛的家庭聚餐。
晚餐后，家人会吃月饼，到户外去欣赏院子里或公园里的月亮。 这也是孩子们看月亮，看看他们是否可以看到月亮仙女或玉兔的影子的时候。 随着宇航员登陆月球，我们都知道没有月亮仙女，但月亮女郎美丽迷人的故事仍然具有中国文化的魅力。
Pomelo Hats 柚子帽子
Do you know pomelos are the seasonal fruit for the Mid-Autumn Festival? Some children put the peel of this large fruit on their head like a hat for fun.
Can you find pomelos and mooncakes in an market near you? Why not check out the big moon tonight and see if you can find any interesting shadows? Happy Mid-Autumn Festival!