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All you need to know about 中秋节 - Mid-Autumn Festival

Sep.18, 2021

The Mid-Autumn Festival (中秋节 Zhōngqiū Jié) falls on the 15th day of the eighth month on the Chinese Lunar Calendar, which is September 21st of this year.

中秋节 is one of the most important traditional festivals in China. In this post we will bring all the history, custom and culture of 中秋节 to you so you can see its beauty and significance.

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Why do we name it "中秋"?

The origin of 中秋节 is from Chinese ancestors' worship towards the moon. They started to offer sacrifices to the moon on a certain day in autumn of each year. That's why Mid-autumn Festival is also called Moon Festival.

From Tang Dynasty (618-907),  Lunar Calender's August 15th becomes a national festival which synthesizes all the autumn customs all over the country. The celebration helped spread many poems and legends. 中秋 started to frequently appear in the historical records at that time.

You might be curious, does 中秋 imply "the middle of the autumn" as it literally means?

Yes! In the lunar calendar, every season is divided into 3 periods. The 3 periods of autumn correspond to the Lunar Calendar's July, August and September. Mid-Autumn Festival, which is August 15th of Lunar Calendar, falls exactly in the middle of the middle month, 中秋 indeed it is, right?

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How do Chinese celebrate 中秋?

I hear you say "吃月饼".

Right! Eating mooncakes is one of the best-preserved customs of 中秋节, as the round shape of the mooncake embodies the cultural meaning of this festival - 团圆/reunion.

Nowadays, topics about various mooncakes prevail greatly on the internet during 中秋节 every year. So, launching mooncakes has become a yearly campaign even for some western brands such as Starbucks

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(In July, Starbucks already launched their mooncake with a new flovour for this year - black truffle beef, French style)

Besides 吃月饼, 中秋 is also the best time to gather family and friends to enjoy 大闸蟹 (dàzháxiè - Chinese Hairy Crab)!

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(Chinese Traditional tool set, 蟹八件, for eating crabs with grace)

In addition to food, enjoying the sight of the full moon with loved ones is another household custom on the evening of 15th and 16th of August (Lunar Calendar). In Chinese literature, many moon-themed masterpieces were mostly written in the 中秋 night.

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A famous legend associated with 中秋

While Chinese people were watching the full moon on the night of 中秋 for thousands of years, there was a legend passing on from generation to generation.

This story is so well-known that even China's first man-made satellite orbiting the moon was named after its protagonist - 嫦娥 (Cháng'é).

Find more about this legend of 中秋节


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What is Chinese people celebrating 中秋 for?

Now you might wonder, so in the end, what are these celebrations for?

The significance actually is all implied by the shape of the full moon and the mooncakes. Round - 圆/yuán. In Chinese language, 圆 is the root of the words such as completeness and reunion.

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For every Chinese person, 中秋 has become an ethical concept. The 中秋 reunion lying deep in their consciousness has been a sentiment and mindset for over a millennium.

This affection was also interpreted by this verse that everyone likes to quote on 中秋节:


Dàn yuàn rén chángjiǔ, qiān lǐ gòng chánjuān.

May we all be blessed with the longevity though far apart, we are still able to share the beauty of the moon together.

Watch Silk Mandarin students recite this famous 中秋 themed poem

Do you understand more about the Mid-Autumn Festival - 中秋节 now?

We wish you to have a great holiday and enjoy the fullest moon with your beloved ones!

中秋节快乐!Zhōngqiū Jié Kuàilè!

Happy Mid-Autumn Festival!

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(All the pictures are from the Internet)

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All you need to know about 中秋节 - Mid-Autumn Festival