Why Do People Celebrate the Moon Festival (aka Mid-Autumn Festival)?


Hey guys welcome to Five Thousand Years It’s almost the Moon Festival, also known as the Mid-Autumn Festival It’s one of the biggest holidays in China and the surrounding countries But do you know why people celebrate this day? And where did it get its name from? In today’s video, let’s dig deep into the history and origin of the Mid-Autumn Festival The origin of this holiday goes back to the Zhou Dynasty, some 3,000 years ago The rulers of the Zhou Dynasty called themselves Tianzi instead of emperor. Tianzi means Son of Heaven They believed the Heavens bestowed the mandate on whomever was most fit to rule Therefore every Tianzi dared not to behave without virtue And during special days of the year or whenever anything bad happened they would try to find fault within themselves and worship the Heavens for an answer The Book of Rites recorded that Tianzi would worship the Sun on the March equinox, and worship the Moon on the September equinox The annual grand worshipping ceremonies made an impact among commoners. People also started worshipping the moon on or around this day Eventually people shifted the date from the September equinox to the 15th day of the 8th month on the Chinese lunar calendar Since the lunar calendar is based upon the moon’s phases, the 15th day of the month will always be a full moon By the early Tang dynasty, it had developed into an official holiday. The celebration grew bigger and bigger with each dynasty And now it’s one of the most celebrated holidays across Asian countries Chinese people call this holiday Zhong Qiu Jie which translates to Mid-Autumn Festival Ancient Chinese people considered the 7th, 8th, and 9th months on the lunar calendar to be the Autumn Season The 15th day of the 8th month is right in the middle of the season and that’s why it’s called Mid-Autumn Festival The Moon Festival is just a nickname since this holiday is deeply related to the Moon You might have heard of the story of Chang’e who flew to the Moon palace after drinking a magical elixir and became the goddess of the Moon But today we are going to talk about another famous story that was recorded in multiple ancient texts from the Tang Dynasty It’s about Emperor Xuanzong of Tang and his magical experience on the moon It was said on the night of the Mid-Autumn Festival during his early reign, Emperor Xuanzong was invited to visit the Moon by his Daoist friend The Daoist used his supernormal ability and built a large silver bridge that went directly to the moon The two of them walked a long way and reached the moon palace The Emperor saw hundreds of divine deities dancing in the palace The accompanying music was out of this world, literally, and the dance was elegant beyond description The Emperor asked what song is this. The answer was Ni Chang Yu Yi Qu, which translates to “Garments of Rainbows and Feathers” After the Emperor came back from the Moon, he recalled what he heard from memory and recomposed the song and named it with the same title Many poets praised how heavenly the melody was. Unfortunately it was lost later However if you like the background music you are hearing now, it’s actually called “A Reverie in the Moon Palace” based on this story from the Tang Dynasty Check out my talented friend Tony Chen’s channel for more beautiful music Last but not least, let’s talk about what ancient people did during this holiday The most important activity was of course worshipping the moon Chinese people also loved admiring the moon. There were so many poems written about the moon The most famous one is 《靜夜思》Quiet Night Thought, written by Li Bai Recite with me if you learned it in Chinese school Moonlight before my bed, Perhaps frost on the ground. Lift my head and see the moon, Lower my head and I miss my home Just like the poem implies, this holiday is also about reunion If the wife went back to her parents for a visit, she would return home to her husband on this day Mooncakes were sometimes called reunion cake. The whole family would share it together Other than mooncakes, people would also give each other watermelons and other fruits as gifts Eating crabs was also popular because they would get meatier and sweeter during Autumn Additionally the 8th month of the Chinese lunar calendar is called the month of osmanthus So people would admire osmanthus flowers and make osmanthus wine The most exciting activity was tide watching and still is today The Qiantang River is known for the world’s largest tidal bore And the best time to view it is between the 15th and 18th day of the 8th month on the lunar calendar So it has become a tradition to watch tidal bores on the Mid-Autumn Festival I hope you learned something useful in today’s video What’s your favorite tradition of the Mid-Autumn Festival? Let me know in the comments below I’ll be making more videos about Chinese holidays, Chinese culture, as well as ancient beauty and fashion, so don’t forget to subscribe if you want to learn more Thank you for watching. I’ll see you next time!

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Comments

  1. No matter how far
    apart we are
    we both look on high
    to the same moon in the sky

    -I wrote this for You 老师节快乐! thanks for teaching us all about Chinese culture!

  2. Beautiful and cute hanfu costume(•ө•)♡❤(ӦvӦ。) Moon festival was imported into ancient Japan, and in some temple and shrine, graceful and gorgeous moon festival is performed:-)

  3. I have been celebrating Moon Day since I was a little girl. As a child, my mother would take us to Fong;s Bakery to get the boxes of mooncakes to prepare our visitation days to our relatives. We would deliver and have tea with them. We would honor our elders.

  4. The world's largest Mid-Autumn Festival is only available in Vietnam. I would like to invite the whole family to click and see and share with friends all over the world.

    https://youtu.be/5gqHEadH81s

  5. Hello, i'm Chelle, i'm Indonesia chinnese.. I really interesting about Taizi, Wangfei, Wangye and other such as Tai hou niang niang, and other such as i'm in the ancient chinnese (爱家,貞,本王,本公,)hope my comment are readed..

  6. Very interestingn! I like the sections – it makes a very clear structure of the video. And I'll definitely check out the music!

  7. If you don’t know this, the way she is dressed and how her hair is styled looks similar to the Chinese moon goddess: Chang’e.

  8. I’m so happy I have found your channel. I get my daughter who I adopted from China to watch you. I helps her so much and I love learning. Thank you for teaching us. 💕

  9. When is the next video coming? I don't want to put pressure on you, but I really love your videos. Hope you're going to make some more interesting videos, since there's a lot to learn about chinese culture.

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