Zhongqiu Jie (Mid-Autumn Festival/Moon Cake Festival)


There is a Chinese saying that a man is high-spirited when good things happen and the moon most luminous on the mid-autumn night. The 15th day in the eighth lunar month falls in the middle of autumn, hence it is also known as mid-autumn (zhongqiu).

The most widely known folklore associated with the festival is the story of "Chang-e Soaring to the Moon". In ancient times there were 10 suns whose scorching heat nearly burnt to death every grass and tree, causing great famine on earth. A famous archer Houyi shot down nine suns, thereby saving the world. In his later years, however, Houyi became a despot and even sought to prolong his life by creating an elixir of life. To save the people from his tyrannical rule, his wife Chang-E stole and took the elixir. She found herself floating to the moon. Thereafter people started praying to Chang-E on the 15th night of the eighth lunar month.

Apart from enjoying the beautiful moonlight, the Chinese also take moon cakes on mid-autumn night.

It is believed that moon cakes were in existence in the Tang dynasty which dates to more than a thousand years ago. In the 14th century the eating of moon cakes during Zhongqiu was given a new significance. The story goes that when Zhu Yuan Zhang led a successful revolt against the Mongolian Yuan dynasty, he hid his message to the rebels in the mid-autumn moon cakes. This legend adds a touch of poignancy to the delightful festival.

Singaporeans celebrate this festival by exchanging moon cakes as gifts and organizing lantern processions for the young. 

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