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The Mid-Autumn Festival

The Mid-Autumn Festival

The Mid-Autumn Festival, also known as the Moon Festival, or in Chinese, "Zhongqiu Jie" , is a popular harvest festival celebrated by Chinese people and Vietnamese people (even though they celebrate it differently), dating back over 3,000 years to moon worship in China's Shang Dynasty. It was first called Zhongqiu Jie (literally "Mid-Autumn Festival") in the Zhou Dynasty. In Malaysia and Singapore, it is also sometimes referred to as the Lantern Festival or Mooncake Festival.

For about one and a half months before the Mid Autumn festival, moon cakes are presented as gifts. Within a family, moon cakes are presented from children to parent, son in law to parents in law and between siblings. Outside of family unit, moon cakes are exchanged between friends, business associate, and colleagues. In the corporate sector, companies give moon cakes to their customers. Some companies even commission moon cakes with their corporate logo or designs.

The presentation of moon cakes is an opportunity for networking and relationship building and expresses social solidarity between the giving and receiving parties. Just before the Mid Autumn festival, adults will buy a lantern for young children at home. These lanterns are carried around after the Mid Autumn dinner. Lanterns come in all shapes and sizes from traditional forms to the latest cartoon characters or pop icons. Buying a lantern for Mid Autumn festival is always a big treat for children. In most places where is there are substantial Chinese population, the local Chinese organization will organize Mid Autumn events for the public. Large size lanterns are often used to decorate the area and add to the festive atmosphere.

In some countries and regions such as People’s Republic of China, Hong Kong, and Taiwan, Mid Autumn or the day after Mid Autumn is a public holiday.

Mid Autumn Legends

The Mid Autumn festival is also closely associated with the story of the Moon Goddess "Chang Er", the wife of an ancient ruler who consumed the elixir of immortality and drifted to the moon. She resides in the Moon Palace accompanied by a rabbit. This story is retold by parents and is a constant theme in the media and used as decorative theme during the Mid Autumn festival.

There are other stories that have morphed from the basic Moon Goddess scenario above, many into the long and complex stories that are often heard in China. An example of this is the story of Houyi, a lazy boy who did nothing but to practice his archery. He practiced day and night until he became the greatest archer in the world. One day, the ten suns all assembled around the earth. Their presence destroyed all vegetation, and hundreds of thousands were perishing. The King, who was desperate, offered his crown to anyone who could shoot down the suns. Houyi answered his call. He shot down nine of the suns, and as he pulled his bow to shoot the last one, the King stopped him. Saying the earth must have one sun.

  Chang Er
  Houyi then became the next King. He was pampered to the extent that he wanted to be King forever. He called his advisors to look for a way to make him immortal. His advisors found a way. They found a recipe for the Pill of Immortality. It required 100 adolescent boys to be ground into a biscuit like a pill. Every night he was supposed to grind one boy. On the hundredth night, his wife Chang'e could not bear to watch her husband become a tyrannical dictator for all eternity. She prayed to Xi Wang Mu (A very old “Goddess” in Chinese History) for help. She stole the pill, with Houyi shooting arrows at her, and flew to the moon grabbing a rabbit to keep her company.So the Chinese say that if you look up at the moon to this day you can sometimes see a rabbit making moon cakes.


We are getting closer to the time when there is an exponential increase in sending money to China from overseas. The vast majority of cash sent from overseas Chinese is sent over the Christmas and Chinese new year period - from December - February. This is an excellent time to begin your Chinese remittance business so you can take advantage of this period. We can have you up and running very fast, but there is still no time to lose! Get in touch with Chong Yee Pin yeepin@netelis.com and William Shum shum@netelis.com for more information.

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