We celebrated Mid-Autumn Festival today with our members by hosting a mooncake tasting at the Civic Center Lagoon Park. We had nearly 40 people in attendance. Jeff provided a brief history on the origin of the holiday (see below). Maureen hosted a White Elephant Exchange. Margie did a wonderful job with decorations. You can check out the photos here.
Much thanks to the organizers - Adora, Becky, Jacalyn, Jeff, Margie, Maureen, Ralph, and Tom.
Mid-Autumn Festival History and Culture
The Mid-Autumn Festival dates back over 3,000 years, to the Shang Dynasty (1600–1046 BC). Ancient Chinese emperors worshiped the moon in the autumn, as they believed that the practice would bring them a plentiful harvest the following year.
This Festival is a family celebration with many outdoor activities arranged especially for the event. On the evening of a Mid-Autumn Festival, families stay up late and get together eating moon cakes and gazing at the moon. It is the second most important festival after Chinese New Year.
This year’s festival occurred on September 8, 2014. The Chinese believe a full moon is a symbol of peace, prosperity, and family reunion. On Mid-Autumn Festival night the moon is supposed to be the brightest and fullest, which is why the festival is also known as the "Day of Reunion" and the "Moon Festival"
The tradition of eating mooncakes during the festival began in Yuan Dynasty. At the end of Yuan Dynasty (1271–1368, a dynasty ruled by the Mongols), the Han people’s army wanted to overthrow the rule of the Mongols, so they planned an uprising, but they had no way to inform every Han who wanted to join them of the time of the uprising without being discovered by the Mongols.
One day, the military counselor of the Han people’s army, Liu Bowen, thought out a strategy related to mooncakes. Liu Bowen asked his soldiers to spread the rumor that there would be a serious disease in winter and eating mooncakes was the only way to cure the disease, then he asked soldiers to write "uprising, at the night of Mid-Autumn Festival" on papers and put them into mooncakes then sell them to common Han people. When the night of the Mid-Autumn Festival came a huge uprising broke out.
From then on, people ate mooncakes every Mid-Autumn Festival to commemorate the uprising.