Chinese Language Blog

Mid-Autumn Festival Moon Cakes Posted by on Sep 5, 2014 in Culture

Next Monday (9/8) is the Mid-Autumn Festival (中秋节 – zhōng qiū jié) in China and Vietnam. This fall harvest festival falls on the 15th day of the 8th lunar month on the eve of a bright full moon (满月 – mǎn yuè) and it’s all about gathering the family together and gazing at the moon. Of course, since it’s such a short holiday (only one day) many people can’t make it home to be with family members (家人 – jiā rén). Home or not, you can stare up at the moon knowing that your loved ones are doing the same thing. You can learn more about the history of this ancient festival in this post from a few years back.

Photo from Avery on

Photo from Avery on

Whenever I ask my students to explain their traditional holidays in English class, one phrase always comes up when discussing Mid-Autumn Festival – moon cakes (月饼 – yuè bǐng). You know the festival is approaching when you start seeing the ads for moon cakes everywhere you go. For English teachers such as myself, Mid-Autumn Festival means receiving an ungodly amount of these lunar pastries from students. Some are downright awful, some are tolerable, and some are actually quite tasty. One thing’s for sure – not all moon cakes are created equal. To help school you before this big holiday and help you get ready, here are some videos from around the web about the famous Mid-Autumn Festival snack:

A guide to moon cakes with lots of new Chinese vocabulary.

Learn how to make moon cakes Cantonese style in this high quality video in English.

This video teaches some history of moon cakes and also visits a factory to see a chef in action.

Challenge yourself with this video – it’s all in Chinese and doesn’t have subtitles.

If you really want to experience an authentic Mid-Autumn Festival, why not try making moon cakes yourself? You can follow the videos above, or you could use some of these recipes:

Even if you still can’t figure out how to make moon cakes, I hope you at least have a very Happy Mid-Autumn Festival (中秋节快乐 – zhōng qiū jié kuài lè)!

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About the Author: sasha

Sasha is an English teacher, writer, photographer, and videographer from the great state of Michigan. Upon graduating from Michigan State University, he moved to China and spent 5+ years living, working, studying, and traveling there. He also studied Indonesian Language & Culture in Bali for a year. He and his wife run the travel blog Grateful Gypsies, and they're currently trying the digital nomad lifestyle across Latin America.

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