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Reunion Moon

2014-09-08 09:49:40



An animal sculpture on the eaves of a building is silhouetted against a full moon at the Wolf Mountain Scenic Area in Nantong, Jiangsu province. XU CONGJUN/CHINA DAILY

For millions of Chinese around the world, Mid-Autumn Festival is the second most important traditional festival after the Chinese New Year.

Falling on the 15th day of the eighth lunar month of the Chinese calendar, which is usually in September or early October, the festival gets its name because it marks the mid-point of the autumn season.

Chinese people have been celebrating this festival at least since Tang Dynasty (AD 618-907). It is a joyful occasion as the big, bright full moon on this festive day is seen as a symbol of family reunion. Therefore the day is also known as "Reunion Day".

Moon cakes are regarded as an indispensable delicacy for the Mid-Autumn Festival. A baked food with various fillings and different artistic patterns on the surface, they are usually round, as the Chinese word for "round" has a similar pronunciation to the words for "reunion" and "perfect".

Moon cakes are traditionally given as gifts to relatives and friends as they represent good wishes. People also present them to the moon as offerings and pray to the Chinese moon goddess for a child, a happy marriage or a bumper harvest next year.

Besides moon cakes, Mid-Autumn Festival features other traditional folk customs including playing with lanterns and watching tidal bores. In 2008, Mid-Autumn Festival became a public holiday in the country, and it is a popular time for weddings and sight-seeing.

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