56 Bewildering Moon Festival Facts To Know Before The Harvest Season

Supriya Jain
Aug 31, 2023 By Supriya Jain
Originally Published on Jan 13, 2022
Edited by Kelly Quinn
Fact-checked by Shruti Thapa
Moon festival facts will tell you about celebrations like Chinese Valentine's Day.
Age: 3-18
Read time: 5.5 Min

The Moon Festival, also known as the Mid-Autumn Festival, is one of the most significant Chinese festivals celebrated across numerous parts of China, Hong Kong, Vietnam, and Macau.

This festival is also one of the prominent ones in the Chinese lunar calendar. Of course, the festival is also celebrated beyond the borders of these countries with many people belonging to these communities overseas observing the moon festival before the harvest and celebrating it with their families.

The Harvest Moon Festival is also celebrated as the Harvest Moon Night. As the name suggests, it is the first harvest moon night in the Chinese culture, and hence called the Harvest Moon Night or Harvest Moon Day.

The festival is one of the most predominant holidays and has a unique history dating back over 3000 years.

Whenever the Moon Festival, also known as the Mid-Autumn Festival, falls in September, the Chinese people generally have a three-day public holiday for commemoration. The Mid-Autumn Festival is celebrated by gathering with families, cooking traditional delicious meals, worshiping the moon, preparing a special type of cake called mooncakes, and lighting paper lanterns.

Read along to find out about the festival in China and more interesting Mid-Autumn Festival facts!

The Significance Of The Moon Festival

The celebrations of the Moon Festival throughout the various timelines are quite fascinating. During ancient times, Chinese emperors celebrated the Moon Festival during fall to pay a token of gratitude for the harvest.

People celebrated the Mid-Autumn Festival to commemorate their hard work during the harvest times. In recent times, however, witnessing a modern era, people mainly celebrate the festival for family gatherings and to have a delicious supper with loved ones.

The Moon Festival is celebrated from mid-September through to early October, according to the Gregorian calendar. Chinese people believe that the moon, especially on this day, is bright and full during this time.

For many Chinese families, the Moon Festival is marked to be having some sort of special ethical significance. The brightness and round shape of the moon during this time symbolize harmony and family reunions for the Chinese and other Asian communities, which in the opinion of the 'Book Of Rites', upholds the social harmony within a country.

In the 8th lunar month, during the fall season, people celebrate with moon cake, a rich pastry.

The Mid-Autumn Festival is one of several traditional festivals in China and is celebrated widely throughout the country. Other festivals include the Lantern Festival, Spring Festival, and Chinese New Year.

During the Mid-Autumn Festival, family members also take part in lighting up the place. In many Chinese myths, legends, and folklore, it's continuously referred to as moon worship, which is an important part of the celebrations.

Medieval Chinese were of the belief that the moon and water were associated with restoration. Offerings during the Moon Festival are exclusively made to the Moon Goddess of immortality known as Chang.

So the folklore, myths, and reverence for the moon in Chinese culture play a vital role in its people celebrating this beautiful occasion.

Today the Mid-Autumn festival is celebrated by preparing the famous mooncakes, going outdoors with friends, and watching the moon in its fullest and brightest demeanor. During the Mid-Autumn Festival, Chinese people happily observe the day as an emblem of peace, harmony, and unity.

The Importance Of The Moon Festival

The Mid-Autumn Festival is known to be the second most significant festival after the Chinese New Year. Mooncakes made and eaten during the Mid-Autumn Festival are one of the most enumerative symbols, mainly because of their pulp round shape and their sweet flavor.

The moon cakes are not just made in round shape, but square, animal-shaped, and heart-shaped are also popular with children during this mid-Autumn holiday.

During the night of the Mid-Autumn Festival, Chinese people set tables outside of their homes, sit with their kids and family to appreciate the moon while devouring the delicious mooncakes. At the same time, narrating to their children about the legend of the change hovering over the moon.

Other Chinese traditions during the time involve writing their wishes on the lanterns, praying for their loved one’s health, happiness, education, and marriage.

In most Asian countries, you can witness the lantern flying in the sky or floating on the rivers, making the night of the festival look even more beautiful. The Mid-Autumn Festival is not only exclusive to Chinese people, it's also celebrated in other Asian countries.

Countries that have throughout history had intense Chinese cultural influence and with large Chinese populations tend to celebrate the Mid-Autumn Festival more traditionally, as if they were in China during the 8th lunar month. Typical countries where the Moon Festival or the Mid-Autumn Festival, is uniquely observed include Singapore, Japan, South Korea, Vietnam, Malaysia, and the Philippines.

The Mid-Autumn Festival comprises a bright moon during this 8th lunar month.

The Chinese youth throughout north China and south China enjoy a three-day holiday during one of the most popular Chinese festivals. It's also called the Mooncake Festival.

Mid-Autumn Festival is extremely important among different China's festivals.

The First Moon Festival

The Mooncake Festival falls in late summer. Chinese beliefs say that the full moon is at its brightest then.

The origins of the celebration of the Moon Festival date back 2000 years ago, during the time of the Shang dynasty in 1600 BCE. However, the worship of the moon was traditionally predominant for most of the Chinese Emperors, since they worshiped it annually.

Slowly and drastically, the celebration and the cultural significance of the Moon Festival started gaining popularity among ordinary masses as well.

So this popularity of the festival took its outburst during the reign of the Tang Dynasty. Many people, including both the upper and lower classes, prayed to the moon for a good harvest.

Later, the Song Dynasty entrenched the term Mid-Autumn Festival on the 15th day of the 8th lunar month in the Chinese lunar calendar, hence making it a significant part of Chinese customs.

The rich and flourishing history of the Moon Festival makes it one of the most culturally significant Chinese festivals. In most parts of the Asian community, this festival is celebrated by following most of the traditional Chinese myths.

Lanterns are lit, mooncakes are made and eaten with family and friends during this festival. Lanterns are mainly lit because of their representation of fertility. And mooncakes are made to imitate and imbibe the importance of the moon.

People offer their prayers to the Chinese gods during the Mid-Autumn Festival. The Moon Festival is also associated as an occasion to commemorate weddings or love as the unofficial Valentine's Day in China.

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Written by Supriya Jain

Bachelor of Commerce, Master of Business Administration specializing in Marketing

Supriya Jain picture

Supriya JainBachelor of Commerce, Master of Business Administration specializing in Marketing

As a skilled member of the Kidadl team, Shruti brings extensive experience and expertise in professional content writing. With a Bachelor's degree in Commerce from Punjab University and an MBA in Business Administration from IMT Nagpur, Shruti has worked in diverse roles such as sales intern, content writer, executive trainee, and business development consultant. Her exceptional writing skills cover a wide range of areas, including SOP, SEO, B2B/B2C, and academic content.

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Fact-checked by Shruti Thapa

Bachelor of Arts specializing in English

Shruti Thapa picture

Shruti ThapaBachelor of Arts specializing in English

With a passion for American, British, and children's literature, Shruti is currently pursuing a Bachelor's degree at Garden City University, Bengaluru. Her fluency in Nepali, Hindi, and Mandarin demonstrates her linguistic abilities and global perspective. In addition to her literary pursuits, she has a keen interest in non-fiction literature, aesthetics, early childhood education, and Egyptian history. Shruti's research paper 'Bringing Art Illustrations In Education And Pop Culture' showcases her proficiency in these areas and her dedication to academic excellence.

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