China festival gives thanks to the moon

12th Jun 2013

Holidaymakers are often said to be "over the moon" when they visit China on group tours, but will they ever get over the country's Moon Festival?

This year the traditional mid-autumn jamboree - only second to the Spring Festival among China's most popular festivals and events - falls on September 19-21.

An influx of tourists is expected.

For centuries, Chinese emperors have offered spring sacrifices to the sun in the spring and the moon in autumn.

Nowadays, families gather to appreciate the bright full moon, and reflect upon family members who live far away.

Different festival customs have grown in different regions.

But some remain constant.

This is to appreciate and offer sacrifices to the round bright moon and eat moon cakes at night.

The moon cake is a cookie with many fillings, including nuts, sugar, sesame, ham or egg.

The cookie contains different artistic patterns showing the legend of Chang E, who became immortal after flying to the moon.

The moon cake's round shape symbolises family reunions and is given to relatives and friends to wish them a long and happy life.

Other activities deemed equally important and perfect for holidaymakers on family tours are dragon dancing and deference to the moon.

Today, sacrifice has been replaced by a simple moon appreciation.

Families normally sit around a table eating and talking, while admiring the bright moon and thinking of their relatives far afield.

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