Mid-Autumn Festival, also known as the Lantern or Mooncake festival, falls on the 15th day of the 8th month of the Chinese calendar, this year it will fall on the 12th September on the Western calendar. It is a date that parallels the autumnal equinox of the solar calendar, when the moon is at its fullest and roundest. This is one of the most important festivals for Chinese people all around the world. The traditional food of this festival is the moon cake, of which there are many different varieties.
Mid-Autumn Festival originated from the Moon sacrifices in ancient times. In ancient China, emperors followed the rite of offering sacrifices to the sun in spring and to the moon in autumn. Later aristocrats and literary figures helped expand the ceremony to common people. Historical books of the Zhou Dynasty (1066 B.C. – 221 B.C.) have had the word “Mid-Autumn”. At that time, people hold ceremonies to greet winter and worship the moon. The custom was passed down to the Tang Dynasty (618-907 A.D.) when people enjoy and worship the full moon. In the Song Dynasty (960-1279), the 15th day of the eighth lunar month was formally named the Mid-Autumn Festival. People sent round moon cakes to their relatives as gifts in expression of their best wishes of family reunion. And since the Ming (1368-1644) and Qing dynasties (1644-1911), the custom of Mid-Autumn Festival celebration has become unprecedentedly popular.
How to celebrate
Mid-Autumn Festival is an evening celebration for family reunion. Most activities follow the custom of worshipping the moon in ancient times. At the night of Mid-Autumn Festival, people invite friends and relatives to hold family reunion feast for celebration. After the feast, they would sacrifice moon cakes, fruits and wine to the full moon at the open space. Every one prays for the blessing of Moon Goddess. Then, they would admire the full moon, taste moon cakes, drinking, chatting even dancing under the moon. Actually, contents of celebration varied in different areas: putting pomelo rinds on one’s head, lighting lanterns on towers, floating sky lanterns, burning incenses to the moon, planting Mid-Autumn trees, perform the Fire Dragon Dances…
Chinese Moon Festival in Phuket
You will be able to purchase the special moon cakes in various locations in Phuket town such as S & P, the Metropole Hotel and many of the traditional Chinese bakeries to be found around the town. The prices of the cakes vary but start from around 45 Baht.
If you would like to participate or view the event you can do so in the evening of 12th September at Queen Sirikit’s 72nd Anniversary Chalerm Park in Phuket town.