The Mid-Autumn Festival also known as the Moon Festival falls on 15 September in 2016, the 15th day of the 8th lunar month. It is the second most important festival of the Chinese lunar calendar, after the Spring Festival that celebrates the New Year.
The festival has been celebrated since ancient times in China. Chinese people all around the world celebrate the festival with dances, feasting and moon gazing. To many Chinese people, a full moon is a symbol of prosperity, happiness and family reunion.
It is a custom for families to have dinner together and go out to admire the beautiful full moon in the evening. They also have mooncakes which are small pastries traditionally filled with lotus seed paste and salty duck yolks. Today, mooncakes may be filled with everything from dates, nuts, fruit and even dried sausage. Mooncakes are often given as gifts by friends and company employers.
This festival is also celebrated in other Asian countries, such as Vietnam, Singapore, Malaysia and Taiwan.
The students at TPPS have learnt about how the festival is celebrated, made lanterns, tasted mooncakes and read the following folktale related to the festival.
This is a folktale read to children during the Mid-Autumn Festival. It is about 后羿 Hòu Yì, an excellent archer and his beautiful wife嫦娥 Cháng É.
The Story Goes Like This ..…Long, long ago, there were 10 suns in the sky. The suns burnt all the plants on Earth. People were dying.
One day, Hòu Yì used his bow and arrows to shoot down nine of the 10 suns. All the people on Earth were saved.
The Queen Mother of the West gave Hòu Yì a bottle of elixir that could make him immortal. But there was only enough for one person. Although Hòu Yì did want to become immortal, he also wanted to stay with Cháng É. Therefore, he didn't drink the elixir and asked Cháng É to keep it safe for him.
Hòu Yì became more and more famous after he shot down the nine suns. People wanted him to be their master. Not every student of Hòu Yì had good morality. Péng Mèng, one such student, wanted to steal his elixir.
One day on the 15th day of the 8th lunar month, Hòu Yì went hunting with his students, but Péng Mèng pretended to be ill and stayed at home. After making sure Hòu Yì had gone, he went to Hou Yi's house and tried to force Cháng É to give him the elixir. Cháng É knew she couldn't defeat Péng Mèng, so she drank the elixir immediately.
The elixir made her fly high up into the sky. In the end, she stopped on the moon and became immortal.
Hòu Yì was very sad when he received the news. He came back home and moved a table under the moon, preparing some food on it. He wished Cháng É could come back to earth but she never did.
Ever since then, during the Mid-Autumn Festival, people set up a table with offerings of food to worship the moon just like Hòu Yì.