Mid-Autumn Festival is the second most important festival in China, next to the Spring Festival, and it’s been a custom for the Chinese to offer sacrifice to the moon, admire the moon and eat cakes on Mid-Autumn Festival since the Ming dynasty. The Chinese people link the full lunar in the sky and the get-together on the earth, bestowing Mid-Autumn Festival with cultural atmosphere.
Sacrificing to Moon
Sacrificing to moon has various names in different regions of China, which is called Worshiping Lunar in Suzhou of Jiangsu Province, Thanking Peace in Zhenjiang of Jiangsu Province, Paying Respect to lunar Palace in Zhenghe of Fujian Province, Making Wishes to lunar in Zhongmou of Henan Province and Worshiping light in Sihui of Guangdong Province.
The custom of offering sacrifice to Moon originates from worshiping Lunar Goddess, and it was recorded that the kings offered sacrifice to the lunar in fall during the Western Zhou dynasty. Sacrificing to the activities were very popular in the Song dynasty, which has become a custom ever since and is transmitted to this day. The sacrificial offerings include watermelons, apples, plums and grapes as well as incenses, of which watermelons are essential, and the watermelons are carved into lotus-shaped patterns.
Admiring Full lunar
Admiring full moon on Mid-Autumn Festival prevailed in the Tang and the Song dynasties, during which all hotels and restaurants were refurnished, offering seasonal fruits, snacks to visitors, and the night market was even more prosperous. The rich families appreciated the lunar in their homes, with snacks and fruits placed on the table in the yards.
The moon-admiring custom was still welcome after the Ming and Qing dynasties, and a number of activities emerge successively, including setting free the lanterns, lighting tower lamps and burning incenses.
Eating Moon Cakes
As the saying goes that “the moon is extremely round on 15 August, and the cakes are tasty and sweet.” cakes were initially used for offering sacrifice to Goddess, which symbolize reunion of the families later owing to its round shape.
The workshops emerge, resulting in delicateness of cakes both in shapes and materials. Cakes are usually stamped with various patterns, such as Chang’e Flying to lunar, Bright lunar in the Milky Way and Three Pooling Mirroring the Moon.
The round cakes are usually sent as gifts to friends and relatives to express their yearning.