Mid-Au­tumn Day

China Daily (Latin America Weekly) - - 7 Life -

hap­pi­ness and fu­ture in their chil­dren, as the man of the house might not re­turn from his fish­ing trip.

Pre­par­ing sweet snacks with some lo­cal spe­cial­ties, of­fered first as obla­tion to Zhi Nv, has be­come a cus­tom, as the lo­cal res­i­dents be­lieve desserts are the god­dess’ fa­vorite food.

Yet with the pas­sage of time, par­tic­u­larly be­cause women have be­come in­creas­ingly in­de­pen­dent, so­cially, pro­fes­sion­ally and fi­nan­cially, the fes­ti­val has lost much of its tra­di­tional color. It has ba­si­cally evolved into a day for lovers to pour out their hearts to each other, and go shop­ping. Tomb Sweep­ing Day and Chongyang Fes­ti­val.

Peo­ple pay trib­utes to their late fam­ily mem­bers and an­ces­tors on the day, and seek their bless­ings for a good har­vest. They also set off float­ing lanterns in rivers to help the dead find their way back home. Newly har­vested food grains, called “au­tumn taste” are of­fered as obla­tions, to the an­ces­tors. And many peo­ple burn pa­per obla­tions as, ac­cord­ing to Tao­ism, the dead can re­ceive the of­fer­ings that are burned in “this world” be­cause on this day, the King of Hell sets them free to meet their off­spring and fam­ily mem­bers.

How­ever, dur­ing a cam­paign aimed at mod­ern­iz­ing so­cial tra­di­tions in the 1950s, the au­thor­i­ties crit­i­cized the fes­ti­val for its “su­per­sti­tious” na­ture. The fes­ti­val lost its ap­peal in the years that fol­lowed un­til 2010 when the govern­ment rec­og­nized it as a na­tional in­tan­gi­ble cul­tural her­itage.

Mid-Au­tumn Day, which falls on Sept 24 this year, is ob­served on the 15th day of the eighth month of the lu­nar cal­en­dar.

The fes­ti­val dates back to the early Tang Dy­nasty (618-907), and gained promi­nence dur­ing the Song Dy­nasty (960-1279). By the time the Qing Dy­nasty (1644-1911) came to power, it had be­come an im­por­tant tra­di­tional fes­ti­val — sec­ond only to Spring Fes­ti­val.

The State Coun­cil, China’s Cabi­net, listed Mid-Au­tumn Day in the first batch of na­tional in­tan­gi­ble cul­tural her­itages in 2006, and de­clared it a na­tional statu­tory hol­i­day in 2008.

The day is also cel­e­brated by peo­ple in some parts of East and South­east Asia, and Chi­nese com­mu­ni­ties around the world.

There are two sto­ries about the fes­ti­val’s ori­gin. Some peo­ple say it has its ori­gin in the an­cient em­per­ors’

LI MIN / CHINA DAILY

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