Besides summer, autumn is one of the seasons where you can find a lot of festival celebrations. It is because this season is indeed the last season to hold a festival. One of them is the Mid Autumn Festival. You can also call it the Mooncake Festival. Three countries celebrate it, namely China, Taiwan, and Vietnam. Cities in these three countries look beautiful with various kinds of large dragon-shaped lanterns and flowers floating on the river. Besides seeing giant lanterns, you can also enjoy the festival’s signature dish, mooncakes.
Mid Autumn Festival Story
It is commonly called Zhong Qiu Jie, has a long history like any other traditional ones. They form and develop slowly. It was an important celebration in the Song Dynasty as well as in the Ming and Qing Dynasties. They are among the popular festivals after the Chinese New Year. There are three stories and legends that are the origin of it. Here are the three stories of the Zhong Qiu:
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The Moon Goddess
Once upon a time, there was a young man who had extraordinary strength named Hou Yi. He climbed to Kunlun Mountain to shoot 9/10 Suns down. Because of his services, Hou Yi became a People’s Hero. The folks respected him very much at that time. Then he married a beautiful girl named Chang’e. Every day, Hou Yi taught people to hunt and accompanied his beloved wife.
One day, he went to Kun Lun mountain and met the Heavenly Emperor Empress. He gave the medicine Eternal Life to him. Anyone who takes the drug will directly fly to the sky and become a God / Goddess. Hou Yi left the bat to Chang’e. One of his students, Peng Meng, who has low morals, finds out about the drug and wants to steal the immortal elixir.
When Hou Yi and his disciple went to the mountain, Peng Meng took advantage of the situation by reasoning that he was sick. So, he can’t participate. Peng Meng entered Hou Yi’s house with a sword to take the potion. Chang’e took the immortal life medicine and drank it. It was because he realized that he was unable to fight Peng Meng. After she drank it, her body floated and flew out into the sky and became the moon goddess.
Hou Yi was depressed after learning of his wife’s passing. He looked up at the moon and shouted his wife’s name. Then he put incense and the food and fruit that his wife liked. People who knew about the incident then flocked to follow him. Since then, the tradition of performing ritual prayers for the Moon Goddess has spread throughout mainland China.
Wu Gang cutting down the Osmanthus tree
Long ago, people believed in the existence of palaces on the moon. In that palace, there is an Osmanthus Tree that thrives and is dense. It is about 500 feet high. There is one person whose job is to cut down the tree named Wu gang. His task began with himself following the Gods to learn the Tao. But when he got there, he did something that violated the rules of the god realm. Then he received the punishment for cutting down the Osmanthus tree. But every time it is cut down, the tree will surely grow back. It had been going on for a thousand years and had never come to fruition despite trying as hard as it could.
Zhu Yuan Zhang fighting the Yuan Dynasty
The tradition of eating mooncakes during the Zhong Qiu began in the Yuan Dynasty. Zhu Yuanzhang was the leader of the rebellion during the Yuan dynasty. He allied with other rebel groups against the Yuan Dynasty Government. During the Yuan Dynasty, the Han Tribe was the lowest caste. The Mongols who were in power at that time often oppressed and insulted them. Because of this, the idea arose to overthrow the Yuan Dynasty Mongol government.
It was difficult for them to disseminate information about the resistance to all rebel groups. Later, Military Advisor Zhu Yuan Zhang proposed to fight on the 8th month of the 15th simultaneously. He spread the information into the hands of the rebel leaders by inserting a small piece of paper containing the information on the rebellion into the Moon Cake. Soon a general under the leadership of Zhu Yuan Zhang succeeded in occupying the capital of the Yuan Dynasty, Dadu. Since that, he set Mooncakes as the official food for the Zhong Qiu and presented them to all the officials under his leadership. After that, Mooncakes became more and more popular in the community and became more diverse.
Mid Autumn Festival Lantern
It is not only a traditional Chinese festival but also a holiday for Chinese people. Usually, they will have three days off until weekends. It is so that people can spend time with friends or family. As night fell, the family lit the lanterns, set the table under the night sky, and sat there listening to the news from the family members eating mooncakes and enjoying the beauty of the full moon. In the Mid Autumn Festival, eating mooncakes is a must. Mooncakes are traditional Chinese cakes made from wheat flour with various fillings, such as red beans, lotus seeds, green tea, chocolate, egg yolks, and many more.
Besides that, making lanterns is also one of the traditions of this festival. The colors of the lights provide a beautiful view at night. They will hang the lanterns on trees or at home. Apart from hanging, they can also make Kongming. Kongming is a lantern that can fly using candles. Various wishes were written on the lantern and let the lantern fly into the sky. A long time ago, people celebrate it when the harvest season arrived. Ancient Chinese emperors performed moon worship in autumn to express gratitude for their harvest. People in those days celebrate it as a celebration of their hard work and harvest. But now, they are celebrating it is a time to gather with their families.