China’s Moon Festival

Celebrating the Mid-Autumn Festival

Have you noticed the moon the last few nights/mornings?

Chinese people all over the world have been celebrating the Mid-Autumn Festival. Traditionally it’s the time for “moon-viewing” with family and friends, eating moon cakes, drinking wine and thinking of loved ones far away.

A famous poem by Li Bai says:

Moonlight shining through the window
Seems like hoarfrost on the floor
Looking up to see the moon
Looking down I miss my hometown

China is a huge country, and people have always had to leave homes, families and friends for long periods as they travelled for work, to see the country, or in the past, as a result of war, famine or flood.

The moon then becomes a way of holding on to these precious ties of affection. It helps to know that the people you care about are looking up at the same moon, though they are far away. Or to know that the same moon is shining on your hometown somewhere in the distance. All way beyond your sight but very present.

The moon is a popular subject for poetry, and if you’re interested you can find many poems online – or let me know, and I’ll send you some more.

Mooncakes are a bit of an acquired taste and Western friends don’t always like them, at least the traditional types with their preserved egg yolks, but they do seem to enjoy the wine-drinking!