Note to Parents: Exploring traditions from other cultures is one way to expand your family’s view of the world and cultivate a heart for the peoples that God loves. Learn about the Mid-Autumn Festival, an important holiday in China.
On September 24, many people across China will celebrate the Mid-Autumn Festival. Held each year during the fall season, this festival began long ago as a harvest celebration. Because the celebration always falls on the night of a full moon, it is also called the Moon Festival. In former times, emperors who ruled China worshiped and sacrificed to the moon god to show their gratitude for a good harvest.
Today, many parts of the Mid-Autumn Festival focus on the moon. Families living in crowded cities often travel to the beach, park, or countryside to get a better view of the moon. After dark, they gather outdoors with friends for dinner and an evening of moon gazing. Children look carefully at the moon’s dark shapes for a lady and her pet rabbit, two characters in a famous Chinese folktale.
After dinner, families drink tea and eat mooncakes.These small, round pastries are sold in bakeries or markets. Some mooncakes have sweet fillings like lotus seed or red bean paste. Others are filled with nuts or dried fruits. Traditional mooncakes have a surprise baked into the center – a whole, yellow egg yolk that represents the full moon! Mooncakes symbolize happiness, long life, and family unity.
Fireworks displays and lantern parades are popular during the Mid-Autumn Festival. Some families make and display brightly colored paper lanterns lit with candles. Children often carry plastic lanterns with small battery-powered light bulbs.
- Prepare an evening meal or snack to eat outside. Choose a location with a good view of the moon. Read Genesis 1:16-18 and Psalm 104:19 together. Discuss the following questions. Who created the moon and what is its function? What can people learn about God from looking at the moon? Pray that Chinese families will come to know God as the Creator who loves them.
- Design your own symbol to represent unity in your family. Read Romans 5:8-10 together. Talk about what Jesus did to unite sinful people with a holy God. Pray that Chinese families will come to know Jesus as their Savior.