Best time to go to China

Mid-Autumn Festival 2024 in China

One of the most important Chinese holidays

Dates: September 17, 2024

Mid-Autumn Festival
Mid-Autumn Festival
Mid-Autumn Festival
Mid-Autumn Festival
See accommodations nearby

The Mid-Autumn Festival, also known as the Moon Festival, is a traditional harvest celebration. Held on the 15th day of the 8th month of the lunar calendar with the full moon at night, it falls in late September or early October. Mooncakes, traditionally eaten during this festival, are probably the most famous part of the tradition.

Mid-Autumn Festival Traditions

On the festival day, families gather to offer sacrifice to the moon, appreciate the full moon, share mooncakes, and express strong tights to the family members and friends who live afar. The Chinese have celebrated this holiday since the Shang dynasty (c. 1600–1046 BCE). The ancient Chinese believed in the power of the moon and water. These beliefs lead to offerings to the moon on this evening and the lunar deity Chang'e, known as the Moon Goddess of Immortality.

The festival is a time to watch the moon, a symbol of harmony and peace. Performance of dragon and lion dances usually occur on this day in southern China and Vietnam. Lanterns are common in Hong Kong and other places. Carrying brightly lit lanterns and writing riddles on them is another popular tradition.

Cassia wine is the traditional drink during Mid-Autumn Festival. In southern China, people eat some seasonal fruit. The Mid-Autumn moon has also traditionally been an occasion to honor marriages and find partners. In some parts of China, that happens during dances. Children and grown-ups also play many traditional games and participate in competitions.

Mid-Autumn Festival Legend

According to legend, a long time ago, nine suns illuminated our planet, making it too hot and dry, which made living on it difficult. The emperor ordered the warrior Houyi to destroy eight of the suns, handing him a magic bow. When the warrior completed his mission, as a reward, the king gave him a special elixir that, once drunk, would send him to heaven forever.

However, Houyi loved one of the fairest women in all the land, Chang'e, so he decided to stay on earth, leaving the elixir unfinished. But one day, when the hero was not at home, an evil figure tried to steal the elixir. To prevent it from falling into the wrong hands, Chang'e drank it herself and slowly ascended to the moon. Therefore, the Chinese look at the moon on this holiday, remembering all their loved ones from whom they are separated during the year.

Location

Celebrations take place throughout the country but the most spectacular you will witness in Beihai Park in Beijing, Erhai Lake in Dali, West Lake in Hangzhou, Elephant Trunk Hill in Guilin, Victoria Park in Hong Kong, and The Oriental Pearl TV Tower in Shanghai.

Last updated:
Authors: Olena Basarab