The Mid-Autumn Festival is celebrated on the 15th day of the eighth month according to the traditional Chinese lunar calendar. In antiquity, the emperors sacrificed to the moon in autumn.🍂 In this article, you can read about the mythological background of this important holiday and how it is celebrated.
While the Mid-Autumn Festival is a traditional harvesting celebration, a big part is certainly the worshipping of the moon. The most famous legend about the festival is about Chang’e, the moon goddess and her husband, the god of war Hou Yi. They were once sent to earth by the heavenly emperor to kill a plague of mischievous animals. After this deed was done, the 10 sons of the heavenly emperor appeared as burning suns in the sky, drying up the land and corrupting the harvest. Hou Yi tried to save the people and asked the suns to refrain from their destructive tricks, but they did not stop. Then Hou Yi climbed a mountain, shot 9 of the 10 suns from the sky and thus saved the people from their misery. He spared the 10th sun and ordered it to go up and down every morning and evening from now on as the source of life.
Hou Yi became a celebrated hero. But as a punishment for the death of his 9 sons, the heavenly emperor denied Chang`e and Hou Yi the return to heaven. Chang’e longed very much for her immortal life in heaven. She found a vial hidden by Hou Yi with an immortality potion, but it was only enough for one person. Chang`e drank it and then disappeared to the moon forever. Sadly, Hou Yi remained alone in the world.
How to Celebrate
There are many ways to celebrate mid-autumn festival:
- Eat mooncakes: This is a must! The delicious cakes make also a pretty and most welcome gift.
- Appreciate the moon: Try to spot Chang’e in her heavenly home or simply enjoy the fascinating sight of earth’s shining Trabant.
- Have a family dinner: It is harvest time and there is a lot to put on the table. Harvest these last summer fruits and veggies and host a big family dinner.
- Join the mid-autumn festival in Basel: Basel hosts the biggest mid-autumn festival in Switzerland. Go there for delicious Chinese food and learn more about the Chinese traditions. On September 29th. More info.