Mid-Autumn Festival : An Introduction

Chinese people love festivals and there are many festivities. Mid-Autumn Festival is one of the most popular ones. In fact it is so popular that many places in China designate it as a public holiday. Many historians come up with different versions as to the origin of this festival. I am more in favor that Mid-Autumn Festival is a festival to celebrate the harvest for the year. China has been an agricultural country for thousands of years. After a full year of hard labor, the farmers have to find a way to celebrate after the harvest is done. There is no better month to hold the occasion than August. And what better day than the 15th of August ( lunar calendar ) when the moon is full. It is no coincidence that this year (1998), the Mid-Autumn Festival falls on October 5th and the Thanksgiving Day in Canada falls on October 12th, just one week apart. Both days are celebrating the harvest time.

The legends, folklores and mythology associated with the Mid-Autumn Festival are many and you can find them under other topics in this special feature. It also plays a part in the Chinese history. While Chu Yuen-chang [朱 元 璋] was able to take advantage of the Festival and passed his war messages in the moon cakes, Li Yu [(李 煜 ] was not as fortunate. After surrendering his kingdom to the Emperor of Sung , Li was under house arrest in the capital. The beautiful autumn moon can only bring him great grief and he was executive by the Emperor after writing this famous Ci.

Moon is a favorite subject for the poets. In this section, you will be able to find a good selection of them. You will also find out other than in poems, moon is often used to name places and scenic spots. Many parents use moon to name their daughters. Many restaurants are named after moon. A good poem can also be attractive to tourists as is the case with this famous poem by Zhang Ji [Chang Chi]:

Moon is certainly a marvel to be admired up in the sky. It is clear, bright and brilliant. However, it is also far, distant and cold, not exactly a good place to be lived in, as correctly pointed out by poet Li ShanYin

[Other poems]

It is this earth, our countries, our communities, our families, our friends and our loved ones that we should treasure. I would like to conclude this introduction with great poet Su Shi 's ( 蘇 東 坡 ) " 水 調 歌 頭 ; and I wish that you always be able to admire the moon and celebrate the Mid-Autumn Festival with your loved ones.

[Other poems]

--By Julian Yiu