The Moon Festival, also known as the Mid-Autumn Festival, started as a typically agrarian celebration in which ancient emperors and field workers thanked the full autumn moon for a good harvest. The festival is celebrated on the 15th day of the 8th month of the lunar calendar, since the Song Dynasty (960-1127), families often gather for dinner, thank the moon and release traditional paper lanterns. In 2021, the Festival will be celebrated on the 21st of September.
Some legends arose from this custom. The most famous of them is about the archer Hou Yi and his wife Chang’e. According to the legend, there were 10 suns in the sky that burned plants and made people starve. Hou Yi used his bow and arrows to shoot 9 of them, saving the Earth. The archer was rewarded with an elixir that would make him immortal, but he kept the reward to spend the rest of his life with his wife. One of Hou Yi's students took advantage of the master's absence and entered his residence to steal the elixir. To prevent the thief from taking her husband's reward, Chang’e took the elixir that made her fly to the moon. To honor his wife, Hou Yi began praying to the moon.
During the festival, people also share the moon cake, a food traditionally eaten during the festival when family and friends come together to enjoy the full glowing moon. This food has the same shape as the moon and it is wrapped in wheat flour, with various fillings. The most common fillings are walnuts, jujube paste, sugary bean puree, egg yolk, and lotus seeds.
At CCB Brazil, as a form of celebration and integration between Brazilian and Chinese cultures, the festival date is marked by the presence of moon cakes.
Happy Moon Festival!