Three Reasons Why We Celebrate The Moon Festival

This Chinese holiday celebrates bounty, family and freedom.

- In old rural China, the Moon Festival is an occasion to give thanks for the bountiful harvest that year.

- Based on legend, it is also a romantic time to celebrate love for family.

- History does not come far behind as it has its own landmark political victory to attribute to this Moon Holiday.

The Moon Festival is celebrated during the 15th of the 8th month of the Chinese calendar, when the full moon is believed to be at its fullest and brightest. This year 2008, it is celebrated on September 14th.

This holiday is usually celebrated by families eating dinner together, then going outdoors to appreciate the wondrous beauty of the full moon. Picnics, moon poetry reading and just spending time together has surely filled many generations of Chinese families with happy memories.

The Moon Festival and Thanksgiving

In old rural China, villagers were more attuned to the moon calendar to time their planting and harvesting. It is this time of year when villagers have finished working on the fields. Families get together to give thanks for the harvest.

The Moon Festival and Love for Family

The romance of the Moon Festival is not forgotten as it is surrounded by colorful legend centering around love and family. There are many variations, but a common thread is about Hou Yi the Archer and his wife Lady Chang'E.

In the olden days, it was said that 10 moons arose and shone on the earth. The extreme heat dried up the fields, and people were starving. Hou Yi the archer shot down 9 of the suns and saved the earth. The Jade Emperor was pleased and awarded him with the Elixir of Life. Hou Yi had a wife, Chang'E. Different legends have different versions but Chang'E will commonly ingest the Elixir of Life. She floats up to the heavens and changes into a toad. Hou Yi chases her through the heavens, but does not succeed in getting her. Chang'E lands on the moon. Hou Yi accepts their fate and has a Moon Palace built for her. The gods, touched by Hou Yi's love for Chang'E, allow them to meet there once a month, when the moon is full.

The Jade Rabbit's origins also have different versions but it accompanies Chang'E on the moon and continually concocts the Elixir of Life.

Mooncake and Freedom