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September 30, 2009 > Moon Festival

Moon Festival

By Meenu Gupta

At the peak of the harvest season an array of Fall festivals are hosted in the entire month of October. From the Jewis Sukkot to the Chinese Moon festival, the thought is the same- to give thanks for the abundance of the harvest season. This year, Moon Festival falls on Saturday, October 3. It is also called the Lantern festival as traditionally children would make brightly lit lanterns from colored paper in all sorts of shapes. The festival has been celebrated in Asia, mainly in China, Taiwan and Vietnam for more than 3,000 years.

Family and friends gather under a full moon, on the 15th day of the eighth month of the lunar calendar, when the moon is the brightest, and eat mooncakes. Like the holiday it honors, these cakes come out once a year. The delicious cake may have a filling of lotus seed, red bean, dates or eggs in a thin crust. More than just a cake it is a symbol of the festival which is also known as the Mid-Autumn festival. Most cakes have characters for longevity or harmony inscribed on the top.

Every year, when the festival comes people go home from every corner of the country and the world to meet their family and have dinner with them. In Chinese culture, the full moon is a symbol of harmony, good luck and prosperity for the whole family. Its roundness symbolizes wholeness and togetherness. Families enjoy picnics or special dinners. Adults will usually indulge in many different varieties moon cakes with a cup of piping hot Chinese tea and children enjoy puppet shows and lantern processions.

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