Mid-Autumn Festival is taking place later this month and it is always a beautiful and meaningful celebration. Like Spring Festival, it is an important reunion holiday when Chinese families travel home to spend time together. The legend behind it about a pretty fairy called Chang Er, who lives on the moon with a rabbit. It may sound quirky but this is what the Chinese associate with Mid-Autumn Festival (as well as mooncakes and lanterns of course). Here are a few fun things you might not know about the Mid-autumn Festival.
Mooncake Gambling in Xiamen
China is vast and boasts ethnic and cultural diversity across the country so it is no surprise that many Mid-Autumn Festival traditions have different local characteristics. In Xiamen, a coastal city in southeastern China, you will hear the rattling and clattering of rolling dices on every corner in the city, which is a 300-year-old custom called “Mooncake Gambling.” Legend has it that Zheng Chenggong, a general of the Ming Dynasty, who stationed his army in Xiamen, invented this game to alleviate soldiers’ homesickness and perk up the troops in the Mid-Autumn Festival. Players throw six dice by turns. Different scores win the player a relevant “title” and a corresponding type of reward (this used to be mooncakes but these days is just something like a cash prize).
Admire the Full Moon
It is said that full moon appears on the sixteenth day of the month on the lunar calendar, so it is more appropriate to enjoy the beauty of the full moon a day after the Mid-Autumn Festival, not on the day or before. Remember to look up during this time as the moon is always bright and beautiful during this period.
Guessing lantern riddles
Chinese people of all ages (especially children) actively participate in solving riddles written on lanterns or on slips of paper attached to lanterns during Mid-Autumn Festival. People must guess the answer by pondering the multiple meanings of the words and phrases that make up the riddle. Sometimes, a hint may be provided when people fail to figure out the answer, such as to indicate whether the answer is a person, place, thing, or reasoning. The answer often contains fortune and delivers a good wish to people. The classic riddles refer to Chinese characters, idioms, historical figures, literary references, or names of cities and other locations in China. Currently, the residential community in China organizes lantern riddles activities during Mid-Autumn Festival and rewards include daily necessities such as shampoo, tissues or snacks. Schools and educational institutions also hold the same game during the festival in a bid to relieve students’ pressure.
Barbecue in Taiwan
In Taiwan, the celebration of the Mid-autumn Festival is completely different from the mainland and Hong Kong. Every family usually has a barbecue at open-air places like patios or just go to barbecue restaurants. This custom derives from a commercial advertisement of soy sauce. In the mid-1980s, a soy sauce company called Wan Ja Shan launched a barbecue sauce commercial with the slogan, “the aroma of barbecue from a family permeates to thousands of households,” which became widely known. Shortly after the barbecue celebration became hit in Taiwan, many other barbecue related brands came out to compete. So get ready to surround yourself with savory hunks of meat, aromatic aromas and sizzling steaks in Taiwan.
China’s second Valentine’s Day
In the ancient times, there was a God in China called “the old man in the moon,” who was kind of a matchmaker. On this full moon night, singles pray for true love and marriage by going to matchmaker temples to worship him and pray for themselves. Meanwhile, married couples spend time with their lovers and enjoy a romantic time together.
Pomelo rinds on the heads
The eighth lunar month is also the season for pomelo fruit. The superstitious saying goes that if you put pomelo rinds on your head, the fairy Chang Er who lives on the moon will see it from the moon and answer prayers for pregnancy. The reason is that the pronunciation in Chinese of “pomelo” sounds similar to having a son.
When: Monday, September 24, 2018
How much: Free
For more information please visit en.macaotourism.gov