Chinese Culture

What Are the Traditions for Celebrating the Mid-Autumn Festival?

In China, the Mid-Autumn Festival falls on the 15th day of the 8th lunar month. It is considered one of the four major traditional festivals. We have already discussed the origins of the Mid-Autumn Festival in a different video. Today, let’s explore how Chinese people celebrate this special occasion.

Gazing at the Moon

On the 15th day of the eighth lunar month, the moon is at its largest, roundest, and brightest. People gather together to appreciate the beauty of the moon. In ancient times, along with moon gazing, scholars enjoyed composing poems to commemorate this moment. Consequently, numerous famous poems about the Mid-Autumn Festival and the moon have been passed down through generations.

In modern China, people no longer compose poetry on this day, but many individuals still set up a table with delicious food and drinks, enjoying the moon’s beauty while savoring delicious food and appreciating the warm atmosphere of family gatherings. And speaking of food, there’s a must-have delicacy during this festival — mooncakes.

Eating Mooncakes

Mooncakes are a distinctive traditional Mid-Autumn Festival food. Shaped like the round moon on the fifteenth day of the eighth lunar month, they symbolize “reunion.” Mooncakes are sweet pastries with various fillings wrapped in a crust. As the Mid-Autumn Festival approaches, it is customary for family and friends to gift each other mooncakes. Some companies even distribute mooncakes to their employees.

The customs of moon gazing and eating mooncakes are the most popular traditions during the Mid-Autumn Festival in China. However, different regions also have unique customs that add local flavor to the celebration. Let’s take a look at a couple of them:

Watching the Tidal Bore

In the Zhejiang region, there is a tradition of observing the tidal bore during the Mid-Autumn Festival. On the fifteenth day of the eighth lunar month, when the moon is closest to the earth, the tides are at their highest. People gather along the banks of the Qiantang River to witness this natural phenomenon.

Lighting Lanterns

In some southern regions of China, it is customary to light lanterns during the Mid-Autumn Festival. Since continuously gazing at the moon all night can be somewhat dull, people brighten up the night by lighting up beautiful lanterns. These lanterns adorn houses and trees, and some individuals even carry lanterns as they explore night markets, adding a touch of enchantment to the Mid-Autumn Festival night.

Guessing Lantern Riddles

In some public spaces, lanterns have riddles on them. People come together to guess the riddles and make new friends in the process.

To sum it up, all the customs observed during the Mid-Autumn Festival revolve around the central theme of “reunion.” This year, why not consider celebrating the Mid-Autumn Festival like the Chinese do? Gather your loved ones, prepare delicious food and drinks, and enjoy a night of reunion, cherishing the company of your parents, siblings, and loved ones.

VIDEO: How do the Chinese celebrate the Mid-Autumn Festival?