Happy Mid Autumn Festival, aka Moon Festival!

The festival originated across Asia as a celebration of fruitful harvests and a full moon ushering in the new season. According to the Lunar calendar, the festival falls on the 15th day of the lunar month, in late September or early October, depending on the lunar cycle. This year, it is Sept 21st, in the gregorian calendar. Chinese communities generally celebrate 中秋节 (zhong qiu jie) by gathering with family, eating mooncakes, lighting lanterns, and admiring the full moon. It is the second most important festival in China and in Chinese communities throughout the world.

Below is a picture of a lovely mooncake found on Instagram, by conscious_cooking.

Image of a mooncake

Koreans celebrate Chuseok (추석) by gathering with family and honoring ancestors. It is considered their Thanksgiving. Traditional foods are eaten such as songpyeon or stuffed rice cakes, washed down with baekju rice liquor. Other traditions include exchanging gifts and several folk games and activities. Below is a picture of dduks, or traditional rice cakes served during Chuseok.

Image of different dduks

In Vietnamese communities Tết Trung Thu is also known as the Children’s Festival. At night children carry lanterns and parade around gathering treats.

During the Japanese festival of お月見 (Otsukimi, ie Moon Viewing), it is customary to display Japanese pampas grass and special dango (rice dumplings). Sometimes sweet potatoes are offered to the full moon. In Japan, the Moon Festival, also known as the Chushu No Meigetsu (中秋の名月), is not as actively celebrated as in other Asian countries.  The moon and rabbits, however, are symbols of this holiday, as is in China, so these kinds of adorable Japanese sweets (below) are made to celebrate in Japan.

The moon on this night is deemed to be the brightest and closest to us.  Consider taking a stroll on this night to be kissed by the sweet Yin of the Full Moon and reflect on the beauty of nature, harvest and our connection with our loved ones.   If I may suggest, during these times of heightened , consider wishing your Asian neighbors, coworkers, family members and even stranger a Happy Mid Autumn Festival!

To learn more about this special Asian festival and how it’s celebrated throughout the vast Asian diaspora, check out this