Cartus Celebrates Mid-Autumn Festival
On the 15th day of the eighth month of the lunar calendar, Chinese people all over the world celebrate the Mid-Autumn Festival, the second most important festival after the Chinese New Year. This year, the Mid-Autumn Festival falls on September 21.
Also commonly known as the Mooncake Festival, one of the most famous stories associated with the holiday is of Hou Yi, a legendary archer and his wife, Chang ‘er. Centuries ago, there were 10 suns, which burnt all the plants on earth and meant people were dying from the heat. Hou Yi, in the hope of saving mankind, shot down nine of the suns and the human race survived. He was rewarded with a bottle of elixir by the Queen Mother of the West for this good deed. One day, a greedy student of Hou Yi came to steal the elixir and, during the fight, Chang ‘er swallowed it, flew to the moon and become immortal. Missing his wife, Hou Yi started the ritual of worshipping the moon every year in the hope of her return, and every year since, the people also worshipped the moon with food offerings and gathered to admire the moon to commemorate this day.
Let’s take a look at how some of our Cartus colleagues celebrate the festival:
The Mid-Autumn Festival is a favourite family tradition of ours and it is celebrated yearly with my extended family. The full moon symbolises family reunion and it means a gathering of three generations having dinner together on the eve of the Mooncake Festival.
The highlight of the evening begins when the celebration moves outdoors. Under the moon, we will set up a table filled with mooncakes, fruits (i.e. grapes, pomelo), incense and tea to worship/admire the moon. The kids have fun lighting paper lanterns and eating mooncakes (a sweet cake usually made of red bean paste/lotus seed paste) which is often gifted to family and friends in pretty packaging.
In Hong Kong, in conjunction with the celebration, we like to attend a popular fire dragon dance held in the Tai Hang, Causeway Bay neighbourhood. It is a tradition for more than 100 years, which started after a plague broke out in Tai Hang. To ward off the disease, local villagers crafted a dragon and inserted joss sticks all over it. Villagers would parade with the fire dragon around the village and let off firecrackers. The plague ended shortly afterwards. This is really unique, so if you are in Hong Kong during this period, be sure to catch it!
In China we attach great importance to Mid-Autumn Festival. Families will gather for a "reunion dinner," as "Reunion" & "Togetherness" are the essence of Mid-Autumn Festival. No matter how far away one lives, you are expected to return home for the family reunion.
While devouring the sumptuous dinner and mooncakes, we will also enjoy the glorious full moon on the night of the festival. Both the moon and the mooncake are round, symbolising family reunion.
Mooncakes are also given out before Mid-Autumn Festival as a form of blessing to family, friends and colleagues. The main streets in the city will also be decorated with lights and lanterns.
I love Mid-Autumn Festival because the autumnal weather is really pleasant, often with a cool and dry breeze. The moon is always the brightest and roundest on the 15th day of the lunar calendar. I used to watch the full moon with my family and friends and those were great times!
There are many poets in China who wrote about the moon, such as Su Shi and Li Bai. I really admire and appreciate their poems as they remind me of my family and friends in my hometown, Taiwan. Those poems seem to express my homesickness—like the writers knew me from thousands of years ago!
During Mid-Autumn Festival, we will eat mooncakes and grapefruit. Although mooncakes are pretty sweet and high in calories, we still have it once a year as part of the festival tradition. I like having my mooncake with a nice cup of green tea to wash it down, it is a great combination. Recently, mooncakes have evolved and there are many options including those with less sugar or ice-cream version vs the traditional red bean paste ones.
I can’t wait to celebrate Mid-Autumn Festival this year! I will do the same—reciting the poems, eating mooncakes and missing my family while admiring the big bright moon.
- Jessica Chien, International Payroll Accountant, Corporate Finance
My Mid-Autumn Festival celebration starts on the eve of the holiday. We will gather together with our extended family for a meal, followed by mooncake sampling. We also pair it with some Pu-er (red tea) and pomelo as they go so well together. On the actual day itself, the neighbours and I will gather to bring our children on a night walk with their colourful lanterns leading the way, while admiring the full moon. For me, it is important to continue the many traditions of Mid-Autumn Festival, including the gifting of mooncakes to family and friends, so that our children and future generation will learn to love this festival and continue the tradition of celebrating them in the years to come.
- Racheal Foo, Manager, Marketing
To all who are celebrating Mid-Autumn, I would like to wish you “祝福中秋佳节快乐，月圆人圆事事圆满.” (Happy Mid-Autumn and may the round moon bring you a happy family and a successful future.)