Moon Festival

The Moon Festival, also known as the Mid-Autumn Festival, takes place on the fifteenth day of the eighth month of the lunar calendar when there is not only a full moon at night but also the largest and roundest full moon of the year. The Festival celebrates the reunion of family and friends who gather to view the large moon, recite poetry, and listen to music. No matter where they are, families and friends feel connected when they look up at the same moon. In Chinese tradition, they also celebrate a bountiful harvest and eat moon cakes, which are rich pastries with sweet or savory fillings. This video features an animated version of the Chinese story “Hou Yi and the Ten Suns.” The story explains how the great archer Hou Yi (后羿) shoots down nine of ten suns from the sky, and later marries Chang’e (嫦娥). When she drinks an elixir of immortality, she floats into the sky and becomes a moon goddess. For this reason, the mid-autumn festival honors her.

Questions for Discussion

  • What story does the animated video tell? How does this story relate to the moon festival celebrated in Chinese culture each autumn?
  • What myths and stories about the moon did you hear as a child? Retell or write down some of these stories.
  • Moon cakes are an important marker of the Mid-Autumn Festival. Look up images of moon cakes online and draw some of the patterns you find. Then, make stamps or stencils using these patterns in order to print your own circular “moon cake” patterns on paper.