Have you already heard of the Moon Festival or the Mid-autumn Festival? Together with the Spring Festival (The Chinese New Year) it is one of the two most important occasions in the Chinese calendar. Therefore it is an official holiday where a lot of Chinese will travel home to their families. Visit some special places while you travel in China and taste the traditional Moon cakes to get a special cultural experience.

The Moon Festival takes place at the 15th day of the eighth Chinese Lunar month as during that time the moon is at its fullest and brightest. Therefore in 2013 the festival will take place on September 19. Most of the Chinese will have 3 days holidays and therefore will visit their families as the festival is a time for families to be together, appreciate the spectacular beauty of the full moon and taste the traditional moon cake. The cake is round and is a symbol for reunion. There are different flavors available and people present them to relatives and friends to show that they wish them a happy and long life.

Different regions have different customs and ways of celebration. In some places you can see lanterns and dragon as well as lion dances. The customs of ethnic minorities are also very interesting such as “chasing the moon” of the Mongolians or “steal vegetables or fruits” of the Dong people.

Customs in different Provinces

Fujian Province

In the city Jianning, people light lanterns to pray to the moon for their babies. In Pu City, females cross the Nanpu Bridge in order to pray for a long life. In Shanghang, the children go down on their knees to worship the moon. And in Long Yan, parents dig a small hole in the center of the moon cakes while eating them. That means that some secrets should be kept from children.

Guangdong Province
In Chaoshan children and women worship the Moon. When the night comes, they burn joss sticks in front of a table of fresh fruits as a sacrifice.

The South of Yangtze River valley

Besides eating moon cakes, the people in Nanjing eat also a dish called Guihua Dark. This dish can only be cooked during the Mid-Autumn Day as the osmanthus flowers, which are need to cook the dish, blossoms in August.

In Ji’an County of Jiangxi province, peasants burn pottery jars with straws and vinegar so that the smell of the vinegar can spread all over the villages.

In Xincheng County, people celebrate by lighting oil lamps from the 11th day of the 8th lunar month to the 17th day.

Sichuan Province

People will prepare a lot of food like moon cakes, ducks, glutinous rice cakes, and rice dumplings. In some places, people light orange lamps, or ask children run in the streets with pomeloes decorated with burning incense in their hands. In Jiading, they worship the God of the Land and play some local dramas to celebrate this special day.

Northern China

People of Qingyun County in Shangdong province worship the God of Land as well as their ancestors on that day. In Lu’an of Shanxi province, parents will invite their son-in-laws to have dinner with them. In Xixiang county of Shanxi province, men usually go boating or climb mountains together, while women will stay at home and prepare for the dinner. In Luochuan County, parents send gifts to their children’s teachers to show their gratitude.

As you can see in different places there are different customs to celebrate this special day. However, the wishes of reunion, happiness, safety, health and harvest stay common in all regions.

Top Places to visit during the Festival

If you travel during the Moon Festival you can visit some very nice places and spend the festival there. Five of the most attractive destinations are: E’mei Mountain in Sichuan Province, Mount Lu in Jiangxi Province, West Lake in Zhejiang Province, Elephant Trunk Hill in Guilin, Guangxi Province and the Yellow Mountain in Anhui Province. All are great places to see the bright moon and also to experience some local customs.

 

Don’t hesitate and book your trip now and enjoy an unforgettable experience of the Moon Festival in China.

Jack Li
 

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