China’s mid-autumn festival is a great way to learn more about China’s heritage. The mid-autumn festival is one of the most important festivals in China. It is held in the 8th month of the Chinese Lunar calendar. The Mid-Autumn festival is also known as the Zhongqiu Festival, the Lantern Festival, or Chinese Thanksgiving. People in China gather with their families for dinner together to celebrate. Typical food is the mooncake (Yue Bing). Mooncakes are round, with a diameter of 3-4 inches. It is a thin crust with a red bean filling, and can also have a salted duck egg. In Chinese culture, mooncake symbolizes unity. Besides mooncake, a drink, Kuei Hua Chen Chiew, is usually served.
The mid-autumn festival has been going on since the time of the Shang Dynasty (1600-1064 BC). The most important part of this festival is worshiping the moon goddess, Chang’e, by burning incense doing lion and dragon dances. Many Chinese people believe that by worshiping the goddess, they will gain prosperity and abundant harvests. The modern celebration includes a lantern parade. Below is a list of some of the best places in China to celebrate the festival:
- The Moon Altar is a historic place where the emperors from the Ming and Qing dynasties celebrate the mid-autumn festival. It is a good example of the architecture associated with the mid-autumn festival legend.
- The Marco Polo Bridge (Logou Bridge) is a popular place to celebrate the mid-autumn festival. The bridge has many lion sculptures. It is located in the southwestern city of Tiananmen.
- The Big Wild Goose Pagoda (Da Yan Ta) is an ancient pagoda in a southern suburb of Xian. It is also an UNESCO World Heritage Site.
- Tang Paradise is located in the Qujiang Resort, southeast of Xian. During the mid-autumn festival, there a dance performance depicting the culture of the Hang dynasty here.
The Mid-autumn festival is also celebrated in other Asian countries influenced by Chinese culture. Below are some of their traditions:
- Mid-Autumn festival in South Korea
Here, the mid-autumn festival is known as Thanksgiving Day. Usually Koreans will visit their relatives and bring presents. They eat muffins instead of mooncakes.
- Mid-Autumn festival in Taiwan
The festival is a national holiday, and the people of Taiwan celebrate with barbecues.
- Mid-Autumn festival in Hong Kong and Macau
In Hong Kong and Macau, this festival is celebrated with lantern parades. The people will surround the city with them. They also exchange gifts.
- Mid-Autumn festival in Vietnam
In Vietnam, this festival is known as the festival of children. They distribute mooncakes, have lantern parades, and lion dances.
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