The festival celebrates three fundamental concepts which are closely tied to one another:

  • Gathering, such as family and friends coming together, or harvesting crops for the festival. It's said the moon is the brightest and roundest on this day which means family reunion.
  • Thanksgiving, to give thanks for the harvest, or for harmonious unions.
  • Praying (asking for conceptual or material satisfaction), such as for babies, a spouse, beauty, longevity, or for a good future.

Traditions and myths surrounding the festival are formed around these three concepts, although traditions have changed over time due to changes in technology, science, economy, culture, and religion.

The festival was a time to enjoy the successful reaping of rice and wheat with food offerings made in honor of the moon. Today, it is still an occasion for outdoor reunions among friends and relatives to eat mooncakes and watch the moon, a symbol of harmony and unity.

The festival is celebrated with many cultural or regional customs, among them:

  • Burning incense in reverence to deities including Chang'e. 
  • Performance of dragon and lion dances, which is mainly practiced in southern China and Vietnam.
  • A notable part of celebrating the holiday is the carrying of brightly lit lanterns, lighting lanterns on towers, or floating sky lanterns. Another tradition involving lanterns is to write riddles on them and have other people try to guess the answers (simplified Chinese灯谜traditional Chinese燈謎;pinyindēng mí; literally: "lantern riddle").
  • Making and sharing Mooncakes is one of the hallmark traditions of this festival. In Chinese culture, a round shape symbolizes completeness and reunion. Thus, the sharing and eating of round mooncakes among family members during the week of the festival signify the completeness and unity of families.

Learn more about the holiday from wikipedia.


  

Harvest Moon Festival
      September 15, 2016

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