When is Mid Autumn Festival?
In 2021, the Mid-Autumn Festival will fall on September 21st (Tuesday). In 2021, Chinese people will enjoy an 3-day break from Sep. 19th to 21st.
Mid-Autumn Festival is also called Mooncake Festival or Moon Festival.
Mid-Autumn Festival is held on the 15th day of the 8th month of the Chinese calendar, which is in September or early October in the Gregorian calendar. It falls as early as September 8th (2033) and as late as October 6th (2025) in the next 30 years.
History of the holiday
This festival originated in a fairy tale. A hero names Hou Yi saved his people by shooting down the other nine suns that burned his people to death. He was then bestowed with the elixir of immortality by the Queen Mother of the West.
He did not want to consume the elixir and leave his beautiful but very mortal wife, Chang Er, so he gave the elixir to his wife for safekeeping. Unfortunately, Hou Yi’s disloyal apprentice forced Chang Er to swallow the elixir. She then became a supernatural being. She flew to the moon, and from there watched her husband.
Knowing that his wife had now been separated from him, Hou Yi was crazed with grief. Looking up at the moon one night, he saw a figure like his wife. He hurriedly took cakes and succade (preserves in sugar, whether fruits, vegetables, or confections) as offerings to his wife.
Upon hearing this, people developed the custom of watching the moon and eating moon cakes annually on this day.
How is it celebrated?
Activities include Fire Dragon dancing, enjoying the displays of lanterns, and eating moon cakes.
Mooncakes are the iconic food of the Mid-Autumn Festival. The pastries are eaten around the time when the moon is supposedly at its fullest and brightest. They’re given as gifts to family members, friends, neighbours, co-workers and employees, a traditional gesture that accompanies family gatherings and public celebrations.
Mooncakes are a type of snack or dessert pastry with a sweet or savoury filling. They are primarily round, to reflect the shape of the moon, but can also be square-shaped. Traditional Chinese mooncakes, specifically Cantonese-style mooncakes, are baked, golden-brown and moulded or stamped on top with the name of the filling.
Typical sweet fillings include sweet bean paste, lotus seed paste or red date (jujube) paste that envelops one or more mini salted, cured duck egg yolks. Some popular savoury fillings include ham, Chinese sausage, roast pork and radish. Another traditional filling is mixed nuts and dried fruit. The outside layer of the mooncake is another dough made with cake flour.