Zhonqiu Jie (Mid-Autumn Festival)

Zhonqiu Jie (Mid-Autumn Festival) is held on the 15th day of the 8th lunar month. It is one of the biggest Chinese festivals. This is the day of the year that the moon is supposed to be at its fullest and brightest. This holiday originated from the tradition of making offerings to the sun in the summer and the moon in the fall. Today, people will watch the moon rise and take evening walks outside. For the Mid-Autumn festival, many people will travel great distances to spend the holiday with their family.

During the Mid-Autumn festival, the streets are decorated with lanterns. The favorite snack during the Mid-Autumn festival is a moon cake. Originally, the moon cake was made from lotus seed paste with 1-4 salted egg yolks in the center. Many other kinds of moon cakes have also been developed with fillings such as sesame, red bean, walnut, dried fruits and even chocolate.

The story of the moon cake is from the 14th century. The Mongols ruled over China and a rebel leader developed a plan to rise up against them. He got permission to give gifts to friends as a symbolic gesture to honor the Emperor. This rebel leader rolled up a piece of paper with details of the revolt and put them inside each moon cake. He gave these to his friends so when they cut open the cakes, they would find the message and know when to rise up. His plan worked and this revolt ended the Yuan dynasty and the Mongol’s ruling. This same rebel leader became first the emperor of the Ming Dynasty.

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