If you are shopping in supermarket or convenient store in the beginning of autumn, you will find some grill kits displayed beside the entrance or obvious place. Mid-Autumn Festival, literally means it sits in the middle of the autumn, to be accurate, 15th day of the eighth month in the lunar calendar. The moon looks exceptionally round and bright on every 15th day of lunar month, so Mid-Autumn Festival is also known as Moon Festival, one of the most important family celebration of the year.
Moon Festival falls on the 15th day of the eighth month in the lunar calendar, also known as Mid-Autumn Festival, is one of the most important family celebration of the year. The Moon Festival has been celebrated for over 3000 years, like any other cultural celebrations, the Moon Festival has many versions in myth. One of the most well-known, is how Chang’e became the moon goddess.
The legend of Moon Festival
Legend traces the story to an archer named Hou Yi, who lived during a time when there were 10 suns in the sky. The heat caused people to die, so Hou Yi shot down nine of the suns and was given an elixir from Heaven to become immortal but he didn’t drink it. To protect elixir from being stolen, Hou Yi’s wife Chang’e drank it and flew to the moon afterward. People have prayed to her for fortune and harvest since then.
Moon Festival customs in Taiwan
In Taiwan, when people talk about Moon Festival, the first thing come into their mind is barbecue instead of mooncake or pomelo. This is actually a recent tradition started by local barbecue sauce manufacturer.
The soy sauce advertisements of the two major manufacturers have been launched intensively during the Moon Festival for several years, gradually leading the trend of “Moon Festival barbecue”. In the recent years, Taiwanese people have enhanced their awareness of environment, however, families gathered to barbecue still can be seen everywhere during the Moon Festival. (Read more: Secret sauce: The surprising origins of Taiwan’s Mid-Autumn Festival barbecue craze)
In Taiwanese culture, people used to send mooncakes as a gift during Moon Festival. Typical mooncakes are round pastries, to symbolize both the full moon and the gathering of family. The fillings are usually made from red bean, salted duck eggs or lotus seed paste. Today, mooncakes come with all kinds of flavor to meet everyone’s need.
If you don’t want to eat or buy factory made mooncakes, click here, to make you own mooncakes!
Pomelo is one of the best-known Moon Festival’s festive fruits, not only because its matching harvest season, but also the meanings behind it. Pomelo is called “you zi” in Mandarin, a homophone for words that mean “pray for kid”.
The elder believed that Chang’e would have a better view of children wearing these pomelo hats from the moon and so answer their prayers. In other cultures, peeling the skin of pomelo is also known to ward off negative energy and keep the evil spirits away.
These days it becomes a fun activity for kids, if you are planning a Taiwan family trip during this festival, don’t miss this! Please make sure that never put the pomelo hat on a cat since it is toxic to them!