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Mid Autumn Festival

Mid Autumn Festival 2017 and 2018

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.

20175 OctThuThe Day Following Mid-Autumn Festival
201825 SepTueThe Day Following Mid-Autumn Festival

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.

Folk Stories and Legends

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.

What to Expect on the Mid-Autumn Festival

If you plan to visit, or are in the area during the Mid-Autumn Festival, you are going to discover that moon cakes are distributed throughout the area. 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.

During this day, family members also gather together to offer sacrifice to the moon, to appreciate the full, bright moon, and to eat mooncakes while expressing their intense yearning toward friends and family members who live far away. Other traditions take place as well, including lion and dragon dances in some areas. Some minorities also have unique customs, including the “chasing of the moon,” and “stealing of the fruits and vegetables” of the Dong people.

Some people like to remain at home while celebrating the festival, while others enjoy spending time outdoors to enjoy time with the moon. Some locations in each city are famous for spending time during the festival, including skyscrapers, in the countryside, scenic natural areas, and other ancient human-made sites.

Because of the migrations of Chinese people to other countries over several centuries, the Mid-Autumn festival is also celebrated in other parts of the world. This is particularly the case for neighbouring Asian countries, where the same celebrations that are held in China are present, while others add their own, unique customs to the day.

If you are planning to visit during the time of the Mid-Autumn Festival, all the government offices, schools, and most privately owned businesses remain closed. Keep this in mind to ensure you get everything you need ahead of time.