We know there hasn’t been much to celebrate this year, but tonight, take part in the spirit of the Mid-Autumn Moon Festival and give thanks for the love in your life. Today is the Mid-Autumn Moon Festival, one of Asia’s most celebrated events of the year. On October 15th of the lunar calendar, people in China, Taiwan, Korea, Japan, Singapore, Vietnam, Cambodia, Malaysia, Indonesia, Thailand, and the Philippines celebrate the Mid-Autumn Festival. The festival was originally a time to worship the moon and give thanks for the year’s harvest. Today, the holiday is equivalent to Thanksgiving with families gathering around delicious festival foods and a hot pot of tea while admiring the full moon.
Origins of the Festival: A Love Story
The Queen of Heavens rewarded a man named Hou Yi with an immortal elixir for his heroic actions. However, he chose not to drink it because he and his wife, Chang’e, were deeply in love. Faced with an evil man trying to steal the elixir, Chang’e had no choice but to drink it and flew up to the moon. Filled with grief, Hou Yi made Chang’e’s favorite foods as offerings. This legend has been passed down and has evolved into the modern celebration of eating fruits and mooncakes on the night of the Harvest Moon. (A new Netflix movie inspired by this legend will be released soon - ‘Over the Moon’)
Mooncake is a hallmark of the Mid-Autumn Moon Festival for Chinese communities around the world. It’s a round pastry with various fillings, such as red bean and lotus seed paste, and can contain one to two slated duck egg yolks. The yolk represents the moon, and the round shape is connected with family reunion as the Chinese words for “round” and “reunion” are similar. Mooncakes are offered to the moon, eaten with family, and given as gifts.
Image: The Washington Post
Just like Thanksgiving, the Mid-Autumn Moon Festival is a time for family gatherings. And no Asian family gathering is complete without tea. Families share special festival foods and spend time catching up over endless cups of hot tea. While each country celebrates with different foods and customs, the intentions are the same - give thanks and eat good food in the company of loved ones. The Mid-Autumn Moon Festival is a time for love, hope, thanks, and community.
Tonight, steep a hot cup of Pillowtalk and look up at the full moon. Despite all that has been upended this year, we all have special people in our lives who have kept us sane and stable amidst the chaos. Whether they're by your side or in your heart, take a moment to thank them for their love and support.