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2024 Chinese Mid-Autumn Festival & Chinese Moon Festival

When is the Chinese Mid-Autumn Festival 2024?

September 17, 2024, Tuesday, is the 2024 Chinese Moon Festival, a.k.a Chinese Mid-Autumn Festival, in China. Chinese Moon Festival is on the 15th moon day of the 8th Chinese lunar month based on the Chinese Lunar Calendar. The new moon day is the first day of a Chinese Lunar Month. Because the first day of the 8th lunar month is September 3, 2024, therefore, the Chinese Moon Festival is on September 17, 2024 in China's time zone.

Chinese Moon Festival is also known as the Mid-Autumn Festival. This is because the lunar 8th month is in the middle of the Chinese autumn season. The lunar 15th date is in the middle of the month. However, the 15th lunar day is not always the same as the full moon day of the 8th lunar month. September 18, 2024, is a full moon day in China's time zone.

What is behind the Chinese Moon Festival?

The story of the Mid-Autumn Festival is about the legend of beautiful lady Chang Er. The time of this story is around 2170 B.C. The earth once had ten suns circling over it, each took its turn to illuminate to the earth. But one day all ten suns appeared together, scorching the earth with their heat. The earth was saved by a strong and tyrannical archer Hou Yi. He succeeded in shooting down nine of the suns. One day, Hou Yi stole the elixir of life from a goddess. However, his beautiful wife Chang Er drank the elixir of life to save the people from her husband's tyrannical rule. After drinking it, she found herself floating and flew to the moon. Hou Yi loved his divinely beautiful wife so much, he didn't shoot down the moon.

If you watch the full moon carefully, you should see the image of a rabbit delineated on the moon's surface. In China, there is another Chinese folklore about a moon rabbit. In this folklore, three fairy sages transformed themselves into pitiful old men and begged for something to eat from a fox, a monkey, and a rabbit. The fox and the monkey both had food to give to the old men, but the rabbit, empty-handed, offered his flesh instead, jumping into a blazing fire to cook himself. The sages were so touched by the rabbit's sacrifice that they let him live in the Moon Palace where he became the "Jade Rabbit." Thus, the rabbit became the companion to the Change Er. Otherwise, Lady Chang Er will be very lonely in the Moon Palace.

Why Eating Moon Cakes during the Chinese Mid-autumn Festival?

Chinese enjoy tasting different moon cakes during the Chinese Moon Festival. by counting the population of Chinese around the world, then we know more than 1.3 billion moon cakes will be eaten during the week of the Moon Festival each year. There also is a story about the Moon Cake.

During the Yuan dynasty (A.D.1280-1368) China was ruled by the Mongolian people. Leaders from the preceding Sung dynasty (A.D.960-1280) were unhappy at submitting to foreign rule and set how to coordinate the rebellion without it being discovered. The leaders of the rebellion, knowing that the Moon Festival was drawing near, ordered the making of special cakes. Backed into each moon cake was a message with the outline of the attack. On the night of the Moon Festival, the rebels successfully attacked and overthrew the government. What followed was the establishment of the Ming dynasty (A.D. 1368-1644). Today, moon cakes are eaten to commemorate this legend.

Chinese moon cakes can be found in Chinese bakery stores and Chinese supermarkets in the USA. A traditional moon cake contains a sweet rich filling covered by a thin crust. There are many different fillings, such as red bean paste, lotus seed paste, sweet bean paste, jujube paste, pineapple paste, or fruit filling. Some moon cakes contain egg yolk or meat. A high-quality moon cake is more expensive than a hamburger.

The Chinese Mid-Autumn Festival activities and Taboos

The Chinese Moon Festival is the day for the Goddess of the Moon. The Mid-Autumn Festival is near a full moon day. Cleanliness and roundness are the symbols of the family reunion. The Goddess of the Moon is a symbol of an angel, white, cleanliness, brightness, and pure love. Ancient Chinese worshiped the moon at night in the Moon Festival. They prepared an incense burner table and put flat cake, moon cake, and fruit on it. Watermelon and pomelo are the favorite fruit because they are big and round. The Chinese Mid-Autumn Festival activities include having a reunion meal, admiring the moon, enjoying moon cakes, drinking wine, etc. Now people like to have a barbecue in the park or backyard. So they can eat dinner, chat with family members, and watch the moon altogether

The Chinese Moon Festival is the moon lady day. To worship the moon is the women's job. Usually, the mother prepares and hosts the ceremony. Men shouldn't worship the moon. Women during menstruation, sick women, and broken heart women shouldn't involve the worship ceremony. If a house is not clean or not in order, then people should cancel the ceremony. We need to prepare a neat and perfect place with a peaceful and admiring heart to welcome the moon lady.

The Chinese Mid-Autumn Festival Day for Coming Years

China Time Zone US PST Time Zone US EST Time Zone
September 10, 2022September 10, 2022September 10, 2022
September 29, 2023September 28, 2023September 28, 2023
September 17, 2024September 16, 2024September 16, 2024

Why the US and China have different Moon Festival Dates?

The date of the 2018 Moon Festival is 9/24/2018 in China. However, the date of the 2018 Chinese Moon Festival is 9/23/2018 in the USA. Why?

The date of the Chinese Moon Festival (a.k.a. Mid-autumn Festival) is on the 15th moon day of the 8th Chinese lunar month (Chicken month). Since the new moon day is the first day of a Chinese Lunar Month. The first day of 8th lunar month is 9-10-2018 in China, the Moon Festival is on 9-24-2018. The first day of the 8th lunar month is 9-9-2018 in EST or PST, the Moon Festival is on 9-23-2018 in the USA.

Time Zone Longitude New Moon Date/Time The 15th Moon Day Full Moon Date/Time
China East 120 9-10-2018 02:02 9-24-2018 9-25-2018 10:53
EST (USA) West 75 9-09-2018 13:02 9-23-2018 9-24-2018 21:5
PST (USA) West 120 9-09-2018 10:02 9-23-2018 9-24-2018 18:53
China East 120 8-30-2019 18:38 9-13-2019 9-14-2019 12:34
EST (USA) West 75 8-30-2019 05:38 9-13-2019 9-13-2019 23:34
PST (USA) West 120 8-30-2019 02:38 9-13-2019 9-13-2019 20:34

Many Chinese still think the Chinese Moon Festival is on the full moon day of mid-autumn. More than 50% chance, the moon full day is on the 16th moon day of a lunar month. It's unusual for USA time this year 1999 that the full moon day is on the 17th moon day of the 8th lunar month.

The Moon Festival is a holiday in China. It's an occasion for a family's reunion. Chinese families like to get together to eat moon cakes and watch the moon at the Moon Festival night. For the people who are out of town or for Chinese who are from China staying in the USA, they miss their family or the lover at home and share the same moon at the night of the Moon Festival before the Internet gets popular.

Most Chinese in the USA today still use the Chinese lunar calendar published from China, Hong Kong or Taiwan. They are told that the Chinese moon festival is on 9-24-2018 which is a date close to the full moon day and time. That's why we can hear some Chinese say that the moon in the USA is much fuller than the moon in China. We should respect those people who own a pair of good eyes.

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Modified: November 10, 2023

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