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Mid-Autumn Festival

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Mid-Autumn Festival (also called August Moon Festival) is a Chinese holiday that people get excited about weeks in advance. It's typically on the 15th day of the 8th lunar month, which for us, is usually in September or October. A lunar month starts on the first new moon and ends on the next new moon. In 2017 the Mid-Autumn Festival is Wednesday, October 4th.

Chinese legends say the moon is the brightest and roundest on this day. According to Chinese beliefs, the moon is a symbol of elegance and beauty and is also a trusted friend. The Chinese have several ancient legends about Moon Maidens. One of them is that on this day, little children on earth can see a lady on the moon. If they do see her and make wishes, their dreams will come true. Besides making wishes, Mid-Autumn Festival is about spending time with family members and loved ones. Children run around with bright lanterns. Adults drink lots of hot Chinese tea and eat several different types of mooncakes. Mooncakes have sweet, heavy fillings and are covered in pastry. They represent the moon and family.

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The story behind the mooncakes goes like this: During the 14th century, Zhu Yuan Zhang was planning on overthrowing the Yuan dynasty, which had been started by the Mongolians. Rebels hid their messages in mooncakes. Eating mooncakes is also done in memory of the Han people overthrowing the Mongolians.

Check out what your town is doing this Mid-Autumn Festival. Sign up for a lantern making course, eat lots of mooncakes and don't forget to tell your family how much you love them!

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