In China, the September full moon is a special day. It is the day of the Moon Festival or Mid-Autumn Festival. This festival is traditionally celebrated on the 15th day of the eighth month of the old Chinese calendar. Because the moon month averages 29.5 days in length, the 15th day is usually a full moon day, however, there are slight shifts in some years. The Moon Festival is one of the most important festivals in China, but is also held in Korea and Vietnam as well as in the respective districts in big cities around the globe.
Here are the dates of the Chinese Moon Festival for the followings years:
- 10th–12th September 2011
- 30th September – 1st Oktober 2012
- 19th–21st September 2013
- 6th–8th September 2014
- 25th–27th September 2015
There are a number of different legends for the Moon Festival. One of them tells the story of an archer named Hou Yi. During a time of great drought, he climbed on a mountain, to shoot down nine of the ten suns from the sky. He left one sun in the sky and this is how he shaped the firmament. As a reward, he received a special pill from the Emperor Yao that promised eternal life. Hou Yi saved this pill. One day, his wife Chang’e found the pill and before Hou Yi was able to stop her, she took it and floated away towards the Moon, where she has been living in a palace ever since. Once a year – at the Moon Festival – Hou Yi visits his wife Chang’e on the Moon, which then appears to shine particularly bright
The Mid-Autumn Festival is, next to its fantastic lanterns, above all well known for one speciality: the mooncake. This is a bakery product, approx. 4 in diameter (the size of a saucer) and 2 in high. This mooncake can be filled with either something sweet or salty. We have not yet had the opportunity to try one. Maybe one or the other reader might be able to help us out and share their experience?
This big festival is a good example for how big, colourful and diverse our world is. While in the Far East hundreds of thousands of people know and celebrate this special day, most people in the Western world have not even heard about it.
Let us take this opportunity to welcome the oncoming autumn and to join in the celebration. No doubt, the Moon will take great pleasure in this.