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China - August Moon Festival

The August Moon Festival or Mid-Autumn Festival is one of the most celebrated Chinese holidays. It is held on the 15th day of the 8th lunar month. Chinese families celebrate the end of the harvest season with a big feast. Unlike the American Thanksgiving dinner, the Chinese have mooncakes instead of grandma' apple pie. Friends and relatives also send mooncakes to each other as a way of giving thanks

Chinese legends say that the moon is at its brightest and roundest on this day. Under this bright autumn moon, friendships are made and renewed. It is perfect for a romantic rendezvous. For many years, Chinese poets write about long lost lovers finding their way to each other on this special night.

Although the mythology surrounding the Moon Festival is uniquely Asian, the Autumn Moon Festival has much in common with Thanksgiving. The Moon Festival traditionally occurs on the 15th day of the 8th lunar month, a date that parallels the Autumn Equinox of the Western calendar. At this time, the moon is at its fullest and brightest, marking an ideal time to celebrate the abundance of the summer's harvest, and reminding many of the lore of the mythical Moon Goddess, Chang O (or Chang E). Round moon cakes made of flaked pastry are baked and enjoyed, ornate lanterns are made and hung, and lovers are encouraged to come out of their homes and bask in the glow of the full moon.

The August Moon Festival is often called the Women's Festival. The moon symbolizes beauty and elegance. While Westerners worship the sun (yang or male) for its power, people in the Far East admire the moon. The moon is the 'yin' or female principle and it is a trusted friend.

In fact, many ancient August Moon folktales are about a moon maiden. On the 15th night of the 8th lunar moon, little children on earth can see a lady on the moon. On this magical occasion, children who make wishes to the Lady on the Moon will find their dreams come true.

Celebration

Mid-Autumn is a time for family and loved ones to gather and enjoy the full moon that is a symbol of abundance, harmony and luck. Families enjoy picnics or special dinners. Adults will usually indulge in many different varieties moon cakes with a good cup of piping hot Chinese tea. Along with the delicious moon cakes, children enjoy brightly lit lanterns, puppet shows, and lantern processions.

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