The Origin of Mid-Autumn Festival
In the ancient past, there was a hero named Hou Yi who was excellent at archery. His wife was Chang’e. One year, the ten suns rose in the sky together, causing great disaster to people. Yi shot down nine of the suns and left only one to provide light. An immortal admired Yi and sent him the elixir of immortality. Yi did not want to leave Chang’e and be immortal without her, so he let Chang’e keep the elixir. But Peng Meng, one of his apprentices, knew this secret. So, on the fifteenth of August in the lunar calendar, when Yi went hunting, Peng Meng broke into Yi’s house and forced Chang’e to give the elixir to him. Chang’e refused to do so. Instead, she swallowed it and flew into the sky. Since she loved very much her husband and hoped to live nearby, she chose the moon for her residence. When Yi came back and learned what had happened, he felt so sad that he displayed the fruits and cakes Chang’e liked in the yard in order to cherish his memories with her. People soon learned about these activities, and since they also were sympathetic to Chang’e they participated in the worship. Since then, people began to celebrate Mid-Autumn Festival.
How to Celebrate Mid-Autumn Festival
A notable part of celebrating the holiday is the carrying of brightly lit lanterns, lighting lanterns on towers, or floating sky lanterns. Another tradition involving lanterns is to write riddles on them and have other people try to guess the answers.
Making and sharing mooncakes is another tradition of this festival. In Chinese culture, a round shape symbolizes completeness and unity. Thus, the sharing and eating of round mooncakes among family members during the week of the festival signify the completeness and unity of families. Of course, it is better to enjoy the beautiful view of the Moon while having delicious mooncakes.