- Gathering, such as family and friends coming together, or harvesting crops for the festival. It’s said the moon is the brightest and roundest on this day which means family reunion.
- Thanksgiving, to give thanks for the harvest, or for harmonious unions
- Praying (asking for conceptual or material satisfaction), such as for babies, a spouse, beauty, longevity, or for a good future
Traditions and myths surrounding the festival are formed around these three concepts, although traditions have changed over time due to changes in technology, science, economy, culture, and religion. It’s about well being together.
If you visit any of the Asian Super Market during the Mid-Autumn/Moon Festival, it will be impossible not to notice the mooncakes. They are believed to have originated from Yuan dynasty (1271–1368) revolutionaries, who are said to have used the pastries to pass secret messages between each other.
Making and sharing mooncakes is one of the hallmark traditions of this festival. In Chinese culture, a round shape symbolizes completeness and reunion. Thus, the sharing and eating of round mooncakes among friends and family members during the week of the festival signify the completeness and unity.
Traditionally, mooncakes are infused with embedded egg yolks and lotus seed paste, but now and day, you can find an exciting jumble of creative fillings now to take your taste buds delights!
Fire Dragon Dance or Lion Dances
The Dragon or Lion dances symbolized driving away evil spirits or bad luck, in turn, bringing good luck. The dances believed to bring good luck to people, therefore the longer the dragon or lion in the dance, the more luck it will bring to the community. These dances are a featured of many Asian events and festivals around the country.
A notable part of celebrating this holiday is the carrying of brightly lit lanterns, lighting lanterns on towers, or floating sky lanterns, especially very popular among the children. It is difficult to discern the original purpose of lanterns in connection to the festival, but it is certain that lanterns were not used in conjunction with moon-worship prior to the Tang Dynasty. Traditionally, the lantern has been used to symbolize fertility, and functioned mainly as a toy and decoration. But today the lantern has come to symbolize the festival itself. In the old days, lanterns were made in the image of natural things, myths, and local cultures. Over time, a greater variety of lanterns could be found as local cultures became influenced by their neighbors.
Photographed by Jarvis Jacobs
Mid-Autumn/Moon Festival 2016 at:
Cali Saigon Mall in Garland, TX