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moon festival lanterns

Moon Festival

On the 15th day of the 8th lunar month, the moon is at its maximum brightness for the entire year—thereby giving it the name Moon Festival.

During the Moon Festival, the Chinese and Vietnamese people celebrate the three values: the gathering of family and friends, giving thanks to a good harvest, and praying for prosperity and for a good future.

The most popular food during the moon festival is, of course, mooncakes! These cakes are about 3 inches wide and can fit into the palm of your hand. The fluffy filling is made from red bean or lotus seed paste, and the inside circle is the yolk of a salted egg. These are very high in calories, so bakers decided to make mooncakes in different flavors—there’s even an ice cream version! The round shape symbolizes unity and the sharing of mooncakes signifies the unison of families. Traditionally, the oldest member of the household would cut the mooncakes into small pieces and give them to each relative of that family.

Another very popular item during the festivities is the traditional lantern. Children love to pick out and carry lanterns during the festival and hang them up on trees and towers. Lanterns with cartoon characters and animals are becoming very popular, but the traditional sphere is still a classic. Lanterns symbolize the wish for the sun to return after a long winter. Kids also wear papier-mâché masks, and parade around the city square with their lanterns on the day of the Moon Festival.

Other traditions that happen during the moon festival include meeting with friends, burning incense and watching ancient stories being told by puppets and dancing. This year, Sam and Sofia will be traveling to China to enjoy the Moon Festival on September 19th!