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Mid-Autumn Festival, A festival with more stories than sweets

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2022-09-07 15:20:56

Mid-Autumn Festival, A festival with more stories than sweets.

        Mid Autumn Festival is a Chinese traditional offering of agricultural products. It is similar to Western Thanksgiving. It is held in the fall or the 15th day of the 8th lunar month of every year according to the Chinese calendar which is the full moon night. When the moon shines brightly, it is more beautiful than the full moon of other months and eventually became a moon-cake tradition. This year it falls on September 10.

        The Chinese will bring the first harvest of the year to cook food and sweets to use in the offering ceremony and eat together to celebrate the new harvest.

        Another widely known legend for the Mid-Autumn Festival is to hide the secret letter in the mooncakes that used to be distributed to suggest a date and time to rise up against the Mongol soldiers.

        Mooncakes are well known in this festival. It is a thin crust cake filled with nuts or mashed fruit, stirring until dry, round shape to match the moon. The traditional fillings are lotus seed fillings and 5 grains fillings (Ngoying). Nowadays, mooncakes are modernized in both taste and shape. Each type of filling has different meanings, for example:

        Lotus seed is a symbol of purity of mind, longevity, honor, humility and peace like a lotus flower.

5 types of grains, a symbol of good fortune and abundance.

  • Plums symbolize courage and hope like plum blossoms in winter.

  • Red kidney beans, the ancient Chinese believed that the kidneys were the organs that produced fear. Eating red beans will increase the courage of the kidneys.

  • Mid-Autumn Festival begins after sunset or early in the evening. By setting up an outdoor worship table such as a patio or deck. The offering will use a pair of vegetarian food or 5 each, or may use just mooncakes and cosmetics, items for women. There were jars or bowls of water set up to reflect the moonlight and bring a bath or a rug for auspiciousness.

Story and Illustration: Ratchanok Thongkhaokham