The Mid-Autumn Festival, also known as the Moon Festival, is a harvest celebration that takes place with the full moon that falls on the 15th day of the 8th month of the Chinese lunar calendar (typically in September or October).
It is celebrated in China and other East Asian countries, such as Singapore and Vietnam.
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Mid-Autumn Festival Traditions
The traditions of the festival focus around the full moon, which the Chinese believe is a symbol of reunion and happiness.
Read three legends behind the Mid-Autumn Festival.
Families gather for a reunion dinner or picnic that consists of many round foods (symbolizing the moon), including eggs and pomelos. Tea is served in round cups.
The most popular food eaten during the festival is the mooncake – a round pastry with molded designs on top and traditionally filled with lotus seed or sweet bean paste.
Today, mooncakes can be found in a variety of shapes with a variety of fillings, such as chocolate or fruit. Check your local bakery, or give this recipe a try.
Other traditions include lighting and flying lanterns in the moonlight, reading poems about the moon, and sending secret wishes to Chang-O, the moon goddess.
Moon Festival Books & Activities
Thanking the Moon: Celebrating the Mid-Autumn Moon Festival by Grace Lin is a wonderful picture book to share with young children. It shows how one family prepares for their moonlit picnic to celebrate the Mid-Autumn Festival, introducing many traditions associated with the holiday.
Download free cross-curricular activities for this story.
Visit the author’s website for more information about the festival, instructions to make a bunny lantern, a recipe for tea-stained eggs, and inspiration to write moon poetry.
Moon Craft: Foil Stamping & Printing
Read A Big Mooncake for Little Star, a Caldecott Honor-winning picture book – also by Grace Lin. Discover the phases of the moon through the story of a little girl and a big mooncake.
Check out these fun and free printable activities to accompany the book: download a Reader’s Theater Script, make a moon mobile and design a moon phase viewer.
The Mid-Autumn Moon Festival is one of the most important holidays of the lunar year. It reunites families and inspires gratitude. Do you celebrate a holiday similar to that?
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