How We Celebrate Mid-Autumn Festival

This year, the Mid-Autumn Festival is on September 21. In many Asian countries and Asian American households, Mid-Autumn Festival is a time to get together with family, eat lots of food, and soak up the good vibes of the full Harvest Moon. Although many Asian countries celebrate this holiday, the foods and traditions are all different. So we asked our communiTEA members to share their favorite foods, memories, and how they plan to celebrate Mid-Autumn Festival away from home this year.

What do you call Mid-Autumn Festival?

• China & Taiwan: Zhōngqiū jié (中秋節)

• Philippines: Mooncake Festival

• Korea: Chuseok (추석) / Hangawi (한가위)

What's your favorite Mid-Autumn Festival food?

"Mooncakes! My favorite filling is lotus seed without the egg yolks."
- Karina, Chinese American

"In Taiwan, BBQs are also a Mid-Autumn Festival tradition but my family always went the hotpot route and I'm forever a hotpot girl."
- Josephine, Taiwanese American

"My mom's galbi jjim (갈비찜). It's beef short ribs braised in a soy sauce with chestnuts and radish. It takes a long time to prepare and cook so it's usually made on special days."
- JJ, Korean 

Share your favorite memory of Mid-Autumn Festival

"We grew up learning the Mid-Autumn Festival legend about Chang'e and a rabbit living on the moon. As kids, my sister and I would take our dad's binoculars and look at the full moon to spot the bunny. We never saw the bunny."
- Josephine, Taiwanese American

"Every year we would play the famous dice game, and my grandparents would buy prizes for all of us. One year, they decided to give all of their grandchildren money as prizes, so we all had some extra money after the festival - especially the person who won first place! My grandpa passed away last year during Covid and it's still one of my favorite memories with him."
- Stephanie, Filipino American

"I remember going to my grandma's house for jesa (제사), which is a ceremony where we give thanks to our ancestors by offering a table full of food. After lighting the incense and taking turns bowing, we would leave the door open and look away to let the spirits of our ancestors come in and enjoy the food. As a kid, this part used to scare me and fascinate me at the same time. After that, it would be our turn to eat."
- JJ, Korean

How are you celebrating this year?

"This year, we will get together with family as usual and eat mooncake and cook a big meal! We will also be drinking tea, eating snacks and fruits, and playing mahjong."
- Karina, Chinese American

"I'm having dinner with a group of friends. We're all from different countries that celebrate Mid-Autumn Festival. I'm glad that I have friends who understand and appreciate Mid-Autumn Festival because I wouldn't do anything to celebrate on my own."
- JJ, Korean

"Ever since moving to NYC and being so far from family, I don't really celebrate it, except for the obligatory acknowledgement text with family - and even then, I usually forget the date until my mom sends that first text."
- Josephine, Taiwanese American

What do you miss about celebrating Mid-Autumn Festival? 

"I miss sitting in the living room and enjoying Taiwanese mooncake with my family."
- Jenny, Taiwanese

"It was always a big family gathering - once a year we would all get together for this and there was always a lot of fun and food. It was a nice reminder of our culture."
- Stephanie, Filipino American

"Just being with family"
- Josephine, Taiwanese American

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