A few weeks ago, a major holiday in Asian culture passed called Mid-Autumn Festival. In Chinese, it's called 中秋节 (Zhong Qiu Jie), in Vietnamese, it's called Tet Trung Thu... this could go on forever so I'll stop here. Anyway, this holiday, or a similar one, is celebrated across the majority of Asia. Because of this holiday's major influence, I thought I would give a short crash course for all those who don't know of it!

1. It's also called Moon Festival

The moon on this night is said to be the brightest and fullest of the year! The origin of this festival is also heavily focused on the moon, which is why variants of the holiday's name often have "moon" in it.


2. Mooncakes are the staple food of the holiday

On Thanksgiving there is turkey and on Mid Autumn there are mooncakes! Mooncakes are round pastries typically filled with red bean or lotus seed paste and other things! The round shape represents togetherness and the reunion of families. Many mooncakes have Chinese characters stamped on the top of them to further signify the many meanings of the mooncake.

3. The festival's origin has many legends/stories tied to it

The most popular legend about Mid Autumn festival goes like so: Long ago, there were 10 suns in the sky. The suns were burning down all the plants and people were dying from the excessive heat. So, an archer named Hou Yi shot down one of the suns and the earth was saved. As a reward, the Queen gave him a bottle of elixir to make him immortal. However, he didn't desire to be immortal but one of his students did. The student tried to steal the bottle from him when he wasn't home, so his lover, Chang E was the only one to protect the bottle. Faced with the student, Chang E decided to drink the bottle to prevent him from taking it but it made her fly to the moon where she would stay forever. To remember her, Hou Yi would worship the moon. Even now, people still look for her image on the moon as it's said she still lives there! Really interesting, right?

4. Lanterns are another staple to the holiday

A common activity for the festival is to make lanterns! You can, of course, buy them, but where's the fun? In certain cities in Asia, they release all their lanterns into the sky as part of the celebration of the festival.