Culture Insider: How the world celebrates Mid-Autumn Festival
Updated: 2014-09-05 Source: chinaculture.org
Mid-Autumn Festival, also known as Moon Festival, is a popular harvest festival celebrated by people in China and some other Asian countries. It dates back more than 3,000 years to moon worshipping in China's Shang Dynasty. In Malaysia and Singapore, it is also sometimes referred to as the Lantern Festival or Mooncake Festival.
The festival is held on the 15th day of the eighth month in the Chinese lunar calendar, during a full moon, which is in September or early October in Gregorian calendar.
Despite shared origin, it has developed different customs in different countries. Let's see how people celebrate it in different regions.
Mid-Autumn Festival, known as Chuseok in South Korea, is a major harvest festival and a three-day holiday in the country celebrated on the 15th day of the 8th month of the lunar calendar. As a celebration of the good harvest, Koreans visit their ancestral hometowns, share a feast of traditional food, such as songpyeon and rice wines, dance together or enjoy the moon. The picture taken on Sept 10, 2013, shows women in traditional costumes experience the making of songpyeon during the festival in Seoul. [Photo/IC]
A Sri Lankan Buddhist devotee prays at a temple in Palmadulla, Sri Lanka, Friday, Aug. 31, 2012. Every month, this island nation of 19 million people shuts down for the full moon day. The mid-autumn day is especially grand with a national holiday and lots of disciples swarm into temples for sermons or moon worship. [Photo/IC]
Mid-Autumn Festival is one of the most important holidays in China. Farmers celebrate the end of the summer harvest season on this day. Traditionally, on Mid-Autumn Day, Chinese family members and friends will get together to admire the bright mid-autumn harvest moon, and eat mooncakes and pomeloes together. Accompanying the celebration, there are additional cultural or regional customs, such as floating sky lanterns, guessing riddles on lanterns, enjoy fragrants wine or watch tides in seaside regions. [Photo/IC]
As a country that has most ethnic Chinese, Singapore has attached great importance to the Mid-Autumn Festival. Galas organized by commercial units are seen in many communities. Besides the celebrations of eating mooncake, lighting lanterns, there are garden tours and dragon dances. The picture shows silk lanterns portraying mythological characters lighting up the night sky of Singapore during the Mid-Autumn Festival, Aug 28, 2011. [Photo/IC]
Malaysia, a country that is home to multiple races, is another nation with heavy concentration of Chinese, about 25 percent of the total population. Local Chinese hold all kinds of celebrations, including enjoying moon, eating mooncakes and carrying lantern, on Mid-Autumn Festival. The picture shows a couple holding lanterns during Mid-Autumn Festival celebrations, at a temple in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, Sept 25, 2007. [Photo/IC]
Mid-Autumn Festival, or Chuseok, is one of the most important traditional festivals in North Korea. On this day almost every family cooks songpyeons and share with each other. Some families also go to cemeteries to honor the deceased relatives. The picture taken on Sept 19, 2013, shows North Koreans standing together for a portrait next to family member's grave at a cemetery as they observe Chuseok, in Pyongyang. [Photo/IC]
Children perform during the Mid-Autumn Festival, also know as Moon Festival, at the Children's Palace in Hanoi, Vietnam, Oct 2, 2009, a day ahead of the Mid-Autumn Festival. The festival is a big day for children in the country as they can enjoy all kinds of mooncakes, watch beautiful lanterns and a variety of toys. [Photo/IC]
Mid-Autumn Festival is called Tsukimi or Otsukimi (literally means moon-viewing) in Japan. The Tsukimi custom originated from the Chinese Mid-Autumn Festival as the tradition of the Chinese festival was introduced to Japan 1,000 years ago. Unlike the Chinese, who eat mooncakes to celebrate the festival, the Japanese usually eat rice dumplings called Tsukimi dango. Besides, people dress in traditional costumes and go to temples to burn incense. [Photo/IC]