As we all know, China is a country that has more than 5000 thousands history. With the long history, China developed many unique traditions. Traditional festival is an important part of it. I believe that you can learn more about China through those traditional festivals. Since autumn is coming, I am going to introduce the Mid-Autumn Festival to you. The Mid-Autumn Festival (or the Moon Festival) — on the 15th day of the 8th lunar month, in 2011, it will be on 22nd, September. The Mid-Autumn Festival probably began as a harvest festival. The festival was later given a mythological flavour with legends of Chang-E, the beautiful lady in the moon. It is the most famous legend about the festival.
According to Chinese mythology, the earth once had 10 suns circling over it. One day, all 10 suns appeared together, scorching the earth with their heat. The earth was saved when a strong archer, Hou Yi, succeeded in shooting down 9 of the suns. He also built a palace of jade(翡翠) for the Goddess of the Western Heaven. For this, he was rewarded with a pill containing the elixir of immortality, but with strings attached–he must fast and pray for a year before taking it.
His wife, Chang E, whose beauty was surpassed only by her curiosity, discovered and swallowed the pill and in no time soared to the moon and became a permanent resident there. Upon reaching the moon, Chang E, in dismay, coughed up the pill, which turned into a jade rabbit that, day and night, pounds out a celestial elixir for the immortals. After his wife fly to Moon, Hou Yi miss her very much, but he can do nothing but prepare moon cake and delicious food under the Moon to in memory of Chang E when the Moon is largest and roundest. When people know their story, they all follow the steps of Hou Yi to pray for the couple. The Moon of the Mid-Autumn Festival is largest and roundest, therefore, the festival means families get together to enjoy the wonderful time. A saying goes, “The moon in your hometown is almost always the brightest and roundest”. Many people who live far away from homes want to go back to have a family reunion. Family is very important to Chinese; the festival is a method for us to strengthen the relationships between family members.
During the festival, the extended family will get together to enjoy the dinner, then we will admire the full moon together outside the house. The most important is the moon cake. Moon cake is necessary in Mid-Autumn Festival. The round moon cakes, measuring about 3 inches in diameter and one and a half inches in thickness. These cakes were made with melon seeds, lotus seeds, almonds, minced meats, bean paste, orange peels and lard. A golden yolk from a slated duck egg was placed at the center of each cake, and the golden brown crust was decorated with symbols of the festival.
Traditionally,13 moon cakes were piled in a pyramid to symbolize the 13 moons of a “complete year,” that is, 13 moons plus one intercalary moon. Beside those, we have fire dragon dances, lantern show, and burn incense to celebrate the festival. The Mid-Autumn Festival is coming; I hope you can enjoy the traditional Chinese festival!! If you can’t back to home, remember to contact your family members on that day!!