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The Mid-Autumn Festival (中秋节 – zhōng qiū jié) is a traditional Chinese holiday that goes back over 3,000 years. It’s second in importance only to the Spring Festival, and it falls on the 15th day of the 8th lunar month, which is September 27th this year. As it occurs on a full moon (圆月 – yuán yuè), this holiday is primarily focused on lunar related activities. People gather with their family members to gaze at the moon, and those who cannot make it home look up at the moon knowing that their loved ones are doing the same. There’s even a special moon-related snack for this holiday – mooncakes (月饼 – yuè bǐng). Giving and sharing mooncakes with friends and family is a huge part of this holiday – just look around in any market in China and you’ll see countless boxes of the lunar treats packaged and ready to go. For those unfamiliar with this traditional Chinese festival, I’ve scoured YouTube for some of the best videos to give you a good introduction to the holiday, the legend surrounding it, and its customs:
This short video teaches you the Chinese word for the festival, and then goes on to explain it in English with Chinese subtitles. It’s a good place to start for learning about the holiday.
Now that you’ve got the story down, why not try hearing it in Chinese? This next video is basically the opposite of the first – the story in Chinese along with English subtitles. Watch it a few times and practice your listening skills!
As with many things in China, there is a fantastic story behind the Mid-Autumn Festival. Learn about the archer who shot down nine of the ten suns, his beautiful wife, and how she wound up on the moon with a rabbit. The funny folks at Off the Great Wall explain it with humor in this video.
There’s more than one legend behind the Mid-Autumn Festival and the reasons for mooncakes. This great video from Night Owl Cinematics gives you the story mentioned above plus two more in hilarious fashion.
There are tons of varieties of mooncakes out there, but which ones are most popular? Check out this short news clip from CCTV to see which types of mooncakes are disappearing off the shelves quickly these days.
Speaking of mooncakes, how would you like to make them yourselves? There are a lot of mediocre videos out there, but I managed to find a great one giving you the ingredients and step-by-step recipe in a very professionally done video. So what are you waiting for? Get cooking!
Singapore’s Chinatown goes all out for the Mid-Autumn Festival. Check out this video that shows highlights of the festival from 2013, which had the theme “Kaleidoscope of Lanterns” (点亮世界 共庆中秋 – liàng shì jiè gòng qìng zhōng qiū).
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