The Chinese Moon Festival takes place on the fifteenth day of the eighth month on
the Chinese Lunar Calendar or in the fall sometime in September on the western calendar.
It is always a full moon on this very special day.
This autumn festival commemorates the lady of the moon, Zhang O. According to folklore,
the famous archer, Hou Yi was honored by the gods for his service around 2,000 B.C.
He was awarded the pill of immortality. Unfortunately, his wife, Zhang O discovered
the pill and swallowed it out of curiosity. She immediately ascended to the moon
where she lives today.
The festival is also to commemorate the overthrown of the Yuan dynasty 4,000 years
ago. The Chinese Moon Festival is similar to the American Thanksgiving which both
occur in the fall. On the night of the Chinese Moon Festival, Zhang O is the most
Here are some key activities that occur on this autumn festive night:
The Chinese eat Moon Cakes during the festival. These are round pastries filled
with various sweet filings such as preserves, fruit, bean paste. Lotus or sesame.
Sometimes the Moon Cakes have an egg yolk in the center which makes them look like
Parents allow children to stay up late on this festive night to eat moon cakes and
watch and admire the moon. Couples also meet during that night to adulate the moon
and its roundness which is supposed to represent wholeness.
The moon is an international symbol of romance. On this night, the matchmaker, Yueh
Lao is busy joining couples together with red silk threads.
Legend has it that a Chinese patriot smuggled rebellion messages in the moon cakes.
Instructions for an attack were baked inside the moon cakes. This helped the Chinese
to over throw the Mongol dynasty which was invading the China at that time.
Moon Cakes are on high demand a month prior to the moon festival similar to pumpkins
being on high demand prior to the American Thanksgiving.
To celebrate a fall harvest, the Chinese make beautiful lanterns where they participate
in community parades.
Moon Cakes & Rituals of the Chinese Moon Festival
The Chinese Moon Festival is just one of several major festivals in China. They are
in part legend, folklore, and ritual but they all influence the way the Chinese think
and feel. By understanding the Chinese Moon Festival, it will help you to interact
with the Chinese whether on a personal level or on a business level especially if
you want to import from China.