The Mid-Autumn Festival (pinyin: zhōngqiū jié), also known as the Moon Festival, Chinese Lantern Festival or Zhongqiu Festival, is a popular lunar harvest festival celebrated in many countries in Asia, such as China, Singapore, Korea and Thailand. Celebrated on the 15th day of the eighth month in the Chinese lunar calendar, it fell on 8 September this year.
When talking about the origin of the Mid-Autumn Festival, we need to refer back to a legend named “Chang Er Flying to the Moon”. This beautiful fable of ancient China tells the story of Chang Er, the wife of the legendary hero Hou Yi, a great archer who accomplished tremendous achievements by shooting down nine extra suns. The hero was rewarded with an elixir for his deed, which his wife drank in secret. Chang Er rose up to the sky immediately after that and has lived on the moon ever since. Chinese people still believe that Chang Er continues to live in the Palace of the Moon, which is very cold and lonely.
For Chinese people, the Mid-Autumn Festival is thus not only a time for celebration, but a time for us to think of our family, our friends and our hometowns. Many of us are living in a new country, and of course we are far away from our homes. In Chinese literature, the moon is a symbol of homesickness and loneliness. Eating moon cake is not just for the flavour, but also meant to give us comfort while thinking about people we are missing.
Article by Wang Fang, World Languages Teacher