The Mid-Autumn Festival in Macau takes place in the eighth lunar month, on the 15th day on the Chinese calendar. This means it typically falls around mid or late September. This is a date that parallels with the solar calendar’s Autumn Equinox.
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During this time, the moon is the brightest and fullest, which makes it the ideal time to celebrate the abundance offered by the summer’s harvest. The Mid-Autumn Festival is also often referred to as the Lantern Festival or Mooncake Festival and considered one of the two most important holidays on the Chinese calendar.
There are many folk-stories and legends attached to the Mid-Autumn Festival. The festival commemorates the uprising of the Chinese people against the Yuan Dynasty’s Mongol rule in the 14th century. At the time, group gatherings were strictly prohibited, which made it difficult to create plans for a rebellion.
The Chinese rebel leader then developed the idea to time the revolution, so that it coincided with the Mid-Autumn Festival. He asked for permission to distribute moon cakes to all the Chinese residents to bless the longevity of the Mongol emperor. Inside each of the cakes was the message, “Kill the Tartars on the 15th day of the Eighth Moon.” When the night arrived, the rebels attacked and successfully overthrew the government.
If you are in Macau during the Mid-Autumn Festival, mooncakes are sold and consumed everywhere. Another part of the celebration is when lanterns are released on beaches and in public parks, which is why the festival is also often called the Lantern Festival. In some cases, the lanterns are also left floating on the water.