Why Mid-Autumn Festival is still relevant today ?

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Why Mid-Autumn Festival is still relevant today ?

Mid-Autumn Festival originated with the ancient Chinese to worship the moon, and after thousands of years, it has become the second largest traditional festival in China. It represents the wisdom of the Chinese and national cultures and has a very important historical significance.

Origin 

In ancient times, the worship of the moon was a royal ceremony. There were extremely strict regulations for the time, location, altar, vessels, and food used. The moon ceremony could take up to ten days. It has a significant meaning: to consolidate the emperor and maintain social stability. As time passed, the official government no longer strictly controlled the moon rituals. On the 15th day of the 8th month, in addition to rituals, a series of customs were formed to appreciate the moon, such as family banquets, cocktail parties, and poetry recitations. The worship of the moon in ancient times has gradually evolved into the modern Mid-Autumn Festival.

 

Moon Cake

Traditional Customs

One of the most important traditional customs of the modern Mid-Autumn Festival is the eating of moon cakes. Different places have different kinds of moon cakes with different fillings. Cantonese style moon cakes are most widely known for their egg yolk and lotus seed paste and mixed nut fillings. Su’s style moon cakes have sweet rose fillings and savory meat fillings. In modern times, snow skin moon cakes and chocolate moon cakes have been invented. They tend to be seen as desserts.

Another important custom is moon worship. Usually, people will put various kinds of seasonal fruits and burned paper products on the table, and after making offerings to the moon, they will burn the paper products and share the offerings' food in order to complete the moon worship activity. At this time, the moon festival was more popular, and in addition to expressing respect to the moon, it was more about praying to protect personal interests. At this time, the Mid-Autumn Festival also developed many entertaining activities to satisfy the needs of different people.

Chinese Lantern

Historically, the Mid-Autumn Festival has been characterized by numerous poems and writings about homesickness and nostalgia for family and country. Since then, "full moon and reunion" has gradually become the theme of the Mid-Autumn Festival. It has become a customary practice to gather with family members to share seasonal fruits and foods, enjoy the bright full moon, and spend joyful time together. Due to the strong atmosphere of reunion, overseas travelers are eager to reunite with their families on Mid-Autumn Festival, which triggers strong feelings of nostalgia.

Due to regional differences, the specific forms of rituals and entertainment also vary, with lanterns being played with to worship the “Moon Lady” in the South, rabbit toys being played with, to “chase the moon” in the North. Although the customs are different, they all reflect the worship of the moon and the theme of reunion, which expresses the recognition of Chinese culture.

Under the influence of globalization and Chinese longing for their hometowns, the Mid-Autumn Festival has developed into a global festival. On the day of Mid-Autumn Festival, the Chinese get together to celebrate the festival, hold various activities with the theme of Mid-Autumn Festival, and share traditional food. This is a way for other countries to feel the atmosphere and understand the meaning of the Mid-Autumn Festival.

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  • Aaron Chan