Lifestyle, Stories

Here’s What You Need to Know About the Mid-Autumn Festival

The Moon Festival, also known as the Mid-Autumn Festival or Mid-Autumn Day, occurs on the 15th day of the eighth lunar month when the moon is thought to be the fullest and roundest. Family members meet to celebrate and admire the moon while eating mooncakes of various kinds. It is also a harvest holiday celebrated by farmers. With almost 3,000 years of history, there are several theories as to how this celebration came to be. Even the most well-known, the story of Hou Yi and Chang E, has several variants. 

What is the legend of the Mid-Autumn festival? 

At this time of year, children are traditionally taught the Moon Festival narrative of Hou Yi and Chang E. There were once 10 suns in the sky, burning countless crops and people to death. The Emperor of Heaven commanded Hou Yi to destroy the nine suns. Hou Yi was successful, the weather was quickly restored, and lives were saved. Hou Yi was given the elixir of immortality as a prize. Hou Yi met Chang E while still on Earth, and they fell in love and got married. 

Hou Yi desired to spend his entire life with Chang E, so he went to the Western Queen Mother and requested the elixir of life. The Western Queen Mother consented to give Hou Yi the elixir, enough for two individuals. Hou Yi went home and informed his wife. On the 15th day of the 8th lunar month, when the moon was round and brilliant, they agreed to drink it together. However, an evil guy named Feng Meng overheard them and desired the elixir for himself. 

Feng Meng went to Hou Yi’s house on the 15th day and forced Chang E to give him the elixir. She knew she wouldn’t be able to overcome Feng Meng, so she drank the elixir all by herself. When Hou Yi returned, he saw that his wife had been taken to Heaven. Chang E chose to live on the Moon since it is the closest to Earth. Hou Yi glanced up at the moon and sacrificed the meals Chang E used to enjoy in the garden. On this day, humanity began to admire the moon. Later, Chang E and Hou Yi came to symbolize the yin and yang (the moon and the sun), respectively.

Why do we consume mooncakes? 

During the Mid-Autumn festival, mooncakes are consumed. This spherical pastry with a thin crust can include a variety of contents. The majority of the flavors are sweet, with a core of lotus seed paste or sweet bean paste. 

According to Chinese folklore, mooncakes once aided in the initiation of a revolution. It happened during the Yuan dynasty, which was founded by northern Mongolians. In the legend, a Han Chinese rebel leader, Liu Bo Wen, wanted to incite the Han Chinese to revolt against the governing Mongolians and bring the Yuan dynasty to an end. 

He was granted authority to send gifts to his friends. These were mooncakes in the shape of a circle. Liu instructed his subordinates to hide pieces of paper with the date of the Han Chinese uprising in the cakes (the 15th night of the 8th lunar month). As a result, Liu spread the news to his people, who discovered the revolutionary message when they sliced open the mooncakes. They then went out to oust the Mongolians, thereby destroying the Yuan empire. 

How is the Mid-Autumn festival typically celebrated today? 

The Mid-Autumn Festival is an important day for many Chinoys. During this time, Chinatown is alive with excitement and bustle. Some Chinoys often organize a variety of events to commemorate the two-day festival. Lanterns adorn the main commercial blocks of Binondo. The key crossings and bridges leading to it are festooned with bright flying streamers. Many establishments sell many types of mooncakes. Some are manufactured in the Philippines, while others are imported from China. 

There are also many other intriguing activities. Among the festivities is a dragon dance parade, an ethnic garment parade, a lantern procession, and a float parade. There is also a dragon dance parade and a float parade, both of which feature a lantern resembling Chang E, which is a common emblem of one of the Mid-Autumn Festival’s tales.

Every year, a large number of people enjoy the celebration. The historic Chinatown is known to be filled with a lively and joyful festival atmosphere.

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