The Mid-Autumn Festival is the second grandest festival in China. It is also known as the Moon Festival because the moon is at its roundest and brightest at that time of year. This festival honors the close relationship that the moon has to agricultural production and the changes of the seasons. This year it is on September 13th.
One of the most well-known stories about the festival is the story of Chang E who swallowed her husband’s immortality elixir and flew to the moon in order to protect it from his enemies. Another well-known legend is about a rabbit in the moon in which three immortals reincarnated themselves into three old, poor people and begged food from a fox, monkey and a rabbit. Both the fox and the monkey gave food to the people, but the rabbit didn’t have any. So, the rabbit told the people that they could eat it and in honor of the rabbit’s sacrifice, the immortals sent it to the moon to become an immortal jade rabbit.
Typical activities for the festival are family gatherings, moon watching and eating moon cakes. First the mooncakes are sacrificed to the moon as an offering and then eaten for celebration. The round shape of the mooncake symbolizes the reunion of a family and can evoke longing for friends and distant relatives.
Want to experience China's Mid-Autumn festival for yourself? Start planning your visit by first checking out China’s tourist visa requirements here.