The story of the Chinese Mid-Autumn Festival

The Mid-Autumn Festival, also known as the Moon Festival or Reunion Festival, is one of the traditional festivals in China and falls on the fifteenth day of the eighth lunar month in the lunar calendar.

The Chinese Mid-Autumn Festival legend

In ancient times, ten suns suddenly appeared in the sky, it was so hot that no plants could grow, and the people could not survive.

There was a strong man named Hou Yi, who was determined to help ordinary people. Hou Yi climbed to the top of the Kunlun Mountains, exerted all his strength, pulled his divine bow, and shot down nine suns continuously.

He said to the last Sun in the sky: “From now on, for people’s benefit, you must rise and set on time every day.”

Hou Yi saved the people, and everyone respected him very much. Many people worship him as a teacher and learn martial arts from him. A man named Pang Meng was treacherous and greedy and followed the crowd to be his student.

Hou Yi’s wife, Chang’e, is a beautiful and kind woman. She often helps poor villagers, and the villagers like her very much. One day, the Queen Mother of the West on the Kunlun Mountains gave Hou Yi an elixir pill. It is said that people who take this medicine can not only be immortal but also can fly to be a fairy. However, Hou Yi was unwilling to leave Chang’e, so he asked her to hide the elixir in a treasure box.

Pang Meng knew about this and wanted to get Hou Yi’s elixir. On the morning of August 15th, Hou Yi went out with all his students, but Pang Meng pretended to be ill and stayed. In the evening, armed with a sword, Pang Meng broke into Hou Yi’s house and forced Chang’e to give him the elixir. Chang’e thought this hurt more people to let such a person take the elixir of life. So, she tactfully dealt with Pang Meng. Seeing that Chang’e would not hand over the elixir, Pang Meng rummaged through boxes and cabinets and searched everywhere. Seeing that the treasure box was about to be found, Chang’e hurried forward, took out the elixir, and swallowed it.

Chang’e ate the elixir and suddenly flew up. She flew out of the window, over the silvery countryside, flying higher and higher. A bright moon hangs in the blue night sky, and Chang’e has been flying towards the moon.

Hou Yi returned from a trip, but his wife, Chang’e, was missing. He rushed out the door anxiously, only to see a bright moon in the sky, tree shadows swirling on the round moon, and a jade rabbit jumping under the tree. Ah, my wife is standing beside a laurel tree and staring at me affectionately. “Chang’e, Chang’e,” Hou Yi called out, desperately chasing after the moon. But when he chased forward, the moon took back, and he couldn’t catch up.

The villagers miss the kind-hearted Chang’e very much, so they put Chang’e’s favorite food in the yard and wish her from a distance. Since then, every Lunar August 15th, it has become the Mid-Autumn Festival, where people look forward to reunions.

Then why do we eat moon cake on this day?
At first, moon cakes were used as offerings to the moon god. Later, people gradually regarded the Mid-Autumn Festival moon cakes and tasting moon cakes as symbols of family reunion. The most traditional moon cakes are round, which means reunion and beauty. It reflects people’s good wishes for family reunions. Slowly, moon cakes have become holiday gifts and have evolved into an annual custom.

The Mid-Autumn Festival is a beautiful time for family reunions. I wish all of you a happy Mid-Autumn Festival!

--

--

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store