I. Reid received a Mooncake from a Vietnamese friend, which inspired this post. Mooncakes are eaten at the Mid-Autumn or Mooncake Festival. It is a traditional festival celebrated in China, Japan, Korea, Vietnam, and Southeast Asia. They have celebrated it for 3000 years.
It is as important as is the Lunar New Year, and is on the 15th day of the 8th month of the Chinese lunisolar calendar, when the Moon is at its brightest and fullest. This is about the time of the autumn equinox when it is harvest time.
It is also known as the Children’s Festival in Vietnam. The children sing special songs.
Lanterns light the paths of people to good fortunes. Mooncakes are eaten during this festival. Ours looks too good to eat! The Mid-Autumn Festival is based on the legend of the Moon goddess. There are similar festivals which are not to be confused. Sometimes we need to be careful to not make assumptions or blur unfamiliar holidays.
Three important concepts of this holiday will remind many of us of Thanksgiving: gathering, thanksgiving, and praying. It is an important time for families and friends to be together. Another important part of the festival is Moon worship. Incense may be burned, and dragon and lion dances performed. People may carry lanterns and they may write riddles on them. Picnics are held under the moon. Stories are acted out, and games are played. Various countries and minorities have variations of this holiday.
Mooncakes are made and shared during this festival. The round shape symbolizes completeness and reunion. Vietnam also has animal shaped mooncakes. The rabbit is important as the Jade Rabbit is another symbol associated with the moon and festival. The rabbit symbolizes selflessness, piety, and sacrifice. In one story, three immortals were impressed by a brave rabbit, made it immortal, and sent it to the moon. When people on earth look up to the moon, they are reminded to be righteous and to self-sacrifice.
Do you see a rabbit when you see the moon? Not all countries see an old man in the moon.