What is the Mid Autumn Festival 中秋节?
Mid-autumn falls on the 15th day of the 8th lunar month every year. Hence the name mid-autumn 中秋, as it falls in the middle 中 of autumn 秋.
This year (2022), Mid-Autumn Festival falls on the 10th of September.
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How do you celebrate it?
Traditionally it is a time for family to gather, eat mooncakes and pomelo, drink Chinese tea and admire the moon.
What are mooncakes?
Mooncakes are traditionally made of lotus paste, with salted egg yolks. Modern versions come in a variety of colours, fruity flavours and look nothing like the mooncakes of old.
In Singapore where I am from, you can get durian mooncakes, ice cream mooncakes, yam mooncakes, coffee mooncakes. Anything you can imagine, we would have it.
My kids love the traditional style with no egg yolks, and like me, have not been too adventurous with the flavours!
Mid-Autumn Festival Poem
This poem has been popularised and romanticised by Chinese singers such as Teresa Teng, and Faye Wong over the years. Listen to this beautiful song sang by Faye Wong《但愿人长久》 in the Youtube Video below.
Originally though, it was written by poet Su Shi for his brother whom he has not seen for 7 years. As he gazes upon the full moon pondering when he might see his brother again, he philosophises that separation is as common as reunion, and such is life…
The story and legends behind the Mid-Autumn Festival
There are two main stories connected to this festival. The most famous one being the mystical tale of Chang E’, who drank a magical elixir and flew to the moon.
The second one, which is an actual historical event, occured in the . A very smart general, slipped in a revolutionary message in the mooncakes to inform the masses of the plan to revolt.
Most people would have heard the story of Chang E’ and it has been popularised in books and cartoons about the Mid-Autumn Festival. I remember being really fascinated as a child about the lady in the moon, and every Mid-Autumn Festival, I would stare hard at the full moon for a glimpse of her shadow!
Mid-Autumn Festival Lantern Riddles
Other than gathering with friends and family to eat mooncakes, drink tea and watch the moon, there is a special event during the Mid-Autumn festival, riddles (猜灯谜/打灯谜)! It’s a fun way to spend the night and work your brains to see if you or your children can understand the riddles.
Here are some fruit related examples from Taiwan Women’s Health Magazine:
Did you get them?? I only guessed number 2 correctly! 😁
There are more kid-friendly riddles on 知乎 such as:
Here are some videos of the stories related to Mid Autumn Festival
Movies about the Mid-Autumn Festival
We’ve watched “Over the Moon” twice last year. Once when it was around the Mid-Autumn Festival, and once again because the children really enjoyed it.
In this movie, a little girl Fei Few (super smarty pants – I love a good strong female character!) builds a rocket to the moon to meet Chang E’ and prove her existence. There is a sad backstory which I will spare you the details of. All in all, a touching and heart-warming story about family, love, faith and hope.
Available to watch on Netflix.
Easy Art and Craft Ideas for the Mid-Autumn Festival
Making crafts around Chinese festivals are one of the best way to involve children in learning about the festival.
As a child, I made Chinese lanterns with my siblings out of cellophane and candles, and paraded them round the block where we lived. It was so much fun to be able to stay up late to play!
I didn’t make lanterns with my children, as I was concerned about fire hazard!! But you can certainly make paper ones that doesn’t light up. Instead, we made adorable origami rabbits, and super cute paper mooncakes.
For other simple art and craft ideas for the mid autumn festival, check out this blog post for:
- tissue box lantern
- origami lantern
- play dough mooncake (looks so real, you think you can eat them!😜)
- how to draw mid-autumn festival items
Free Mid Autumn Vocabulary Flashcards
Don’t forget to do some focused teaching with this set of Mid-Autumn flashcards you can download on the members site.
There are 8 Chinese/English vocabulary words in this set:
- Full Moon 满月
- Mooncake 月饼
- Tea 茶
- Lantern 灯笼
- Pomelo 柚子
- Autumn 秋天
- Chang E 嫦娥
- Reunion 团圆
If you found this set of flashcards useful, do check out our best-selling Montessori bilingual flashcards.
Mid-Autumn Festival Colouring Worksheets
Download these 8 cute colouring worksheets on the Mandarin Homeschool Freebie page while you’re at it.
You can even use the colouring sheets to make a lantern!
Books about the Mid-Autumn Festival
If you read my blog post, you will know that as a family, we are huge readers. I had previously written an extensive blog post on the Mid-Autumn Festival books we love where you will find full book details, and Youtube readings.
The top 3 favourite English books in our household about the Mid-Autumn Festival are:
The top 3 favourite Chinese books in our household about the Mid-Autumn Festival are:
I think I have covered all the information you will need to teach your children about the wonderful Mid-Autumn Festival. If I have missed anything, do comment and let me know!
Here’s wishing you a harmonious and sweet Mid-Autumn Festival. 中秋快乐 🥮