Celebrating International Mid Autumn Day Festival 2023
A huge event in East Asia, the Mid Autumn Day Festival 2023 is fast approaching with millions preparing to celebrate. Those in China, Singapore, South Korea and more have their own traditions, as well as ones shared internationally. Let’s take a look at the Mid Autumn Day story, activities and traditional celebrations.
When Is The Mid-Autumn Day Festival 2023?
In 2023, the Mid Autumn Festival will be celebrated on September 29th. However, it isn’t always held on the same day every year, just like the Islamic New Year.
The Festival is always held on the 15th day of the 8th month according to the lunar year. This means it changes every year according to the Gregorian Calendar. However, you can always expect it around the time of the Harvest Moon which is in September or October.
No matter when it takes place, the same traditions and activities happen in the participating countries for Mid Autumn Day 2023.
The Mid Autumn Festival Story
The story behind the Mid Autumn Festival began over 2,000 years ago. Originally, it was a celebration post-harvest to thank the gods for crops. It is also connected to worshipping the moon. Since then, the harvest and the full moon have been intrinsically linked.
Different cultures and countries have different versions of the Mid Autumn Day story. Some believe that the day is about the reconnecting of tyrannical rulers. In the myth, they had been banished to the sun and the moon after stealing and acting poorly.
Another says that the day commemorated Buddha and the rabbit. Disguised as an old man, Buddha tested three animals to see which would help him. The only one to aid him, the rabbit threw itself on the fire to provide cooked meat.
Buddha then resurrected the rabbit and sent it to the moon where it would be highly respected. Now, the rabbit is an iconic symbol of the festival.
How Does The World Celebrate The Mid Autumn Festival
Every country celebrates Mid Autumn Day differently, but there are some activities and traditions that are international.
Unsurprisingly, gazing upon the moon is shared across the nations, as well as lighting lanterns and the symbol of the rabbit. Feasts and parties are also held to acknowledge the important day.
In China, the day is all about spending time with family. The myth of the tyrannical leaders reconnecting comes from here, and therefore reconnection is an important theme here. Therefore, Mid Autumn Day in China is spent at home.
Moon cakes are also traditionally eaten. These can be filled with a variety of fillings including sweet versions stuffed with ice cream, custard and fruit.
Whilst lanterns are a large part of Chinese activities for the Mid Autumn Festival, long gone are the days of the paper versions. Instead, battery-powered ones are often seen and even glow sticks by young children.
In some provinces, it's even common for women to go around stealing vegetables, emulating part of the mythology.
At this time of year, those in South Korea celebrate Chuseok, their version of the festival. This is actually would of the largest celebrations in the country, with two public days on either side of the official day.
Family is also greatly important to the Mid Autumn Festival in South Korea, with the two days given for travelling to be with loved ones. Moon-shaped food is also eaten in the form of songpyeon which are crescent-shaped rice cakes. Plenty of fruit and vegetables are also traditionally enjoyed.
In the evening, traditional circle dances take place as well as gazing upon the moon in thanks.
Traditional Mid Autumn Day activities revolve around the rabbit in Japan. People try to spot the mythical rabbit on its journey to make Mochi, a rice cake snack.
Celebrations here date back to well over 1000 years ago when people would have boat ‘parties’ to observe the moon, drink and recite poetry.
Nowadays, homes are decorated in pampas grass and even fast food chains get involved in the celebrations!
Due to a large portion of the Singapore population having Chinese ancestry, the Mid Autumn Festival activities are a big event here too.
Though it was once isolated to Chinatown, the traditional Mid Autumn Festival activities have spread with huge lantern displays across the country. However, the parties in Chinatown are still known to be the most extravagant.
Traditional snacks can be bought from street markets as well as ornaments to display in your home.
Wherever you are on September 29, you now know the importance of the Mid Autumn Festival 2023 to such a large population of the world. Whether you’ll be celebrating or not, make sure you take a glance or two at the moon!