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2023 Chinese Moon Festival & Legendary Story

September 29, 2023, is the Chinese Moon Festival. The Chinese Moon Festival is the 15th lunar day of the 8th lunar month. September 29, 2023, is a full moon day in China. Sometimes, the full moon day is on the 16th lunar day, the following date of the Chinese Mid-Autumn Moon Festival.

What do people do during the Chinese Mid-Autumn Moon Festival? Chinese will appreciate the Moon on that night to see how full the Moon is. People will eat moon cakes during the month of the Chinese Moon Festival. Some families have a reunion dinner because the Chinese Mid-Autumn Moon Festival is a national holiday. Young couples might have a date during the full moon night.

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 do Chinese eat moon cakes during the Mid-Autumn Festival? The answer is in the legendary Story below.

The Stories of the Chinese Mid Autumn Festival

I. The 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.

II. The Man - Wu Kang

Wu Kang was a shiftless fellow who changed apprenticeships all the time. One day he decided that he wanted to be an immortal. Wu Kang then went to live in the mountains where he importuned an immortal to teach him. First the immortal taught him about the herbs used to cure sickness, but after three days his characteristic restlessness returned and he asked the immortal to teach him something else. So the immortal to teach him chess, but after a short while, Wu Kang's enthusiasm again waned. Then Wu Kang was given the books of immortality to study. Of course, Wu Kang became bored within a few days and asked if they could travel to some new and exciting place. Angered with Wu Kang's impatience, the master banished Wu Kang to the Moon Palace telling him that he must cut down a huge cassia tree before he could return to earth. Though Wu Kang chopped day and night, the magical tree restored itself with each blow, and thus he is up there chopping still.

III. The Hare - Jade Rabbit

In this legend, 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 itself. 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."

IV. The Cake - 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 exchange moon cakes as a gift during the Moon Festival season. Many business Companies gift their valuable customers with boxes of moon cakes. Families will buy their favorite moon cakes for themselves. The Moon Festival Day is a national holiday in China and Taiwan. Every Chinese won't miss moon cake during the holiday.

The current population of China is more than 1.43 billion at the end of 2019. Overseas Chinese have at least 50 million. That means more than 1.48 billion moon cakes will be eaten during the week of the Moon Festival each year.


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Modified: November 11, 2022

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