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Happy Mid-Autumn Day, Wishes From Mapesen

2016 Mid-Autumn Festival falls on September 15th. The holiday of Mapesen lasts from September 15th to 17th.
Falling on the 15th day of the 8th month according to the Chinese lunar calendar, the Mid-Autumn Festival is the second grandest festival
after the Spring Festival in China. It takes its name from the fact that it is always celebrated in the middle of the autumn season. The day is
also known as the Moon Festival, as at that time of the year the moon is at its roundest and brightest.

Mid-Autumn Festival is an inherited custom of moon sacrificial ceremonies. The ancient Chinese observed that the movement of the moon
had a close relationship with changes of the seasons and agricultural production. Hence, to express their thanks to the moon and celebrate
the harvest, they offered a sacrifice to the moon on autumn days. Mid-Autumn Festival in Xian This custom could be traced back to the Zhou
Dynasty (1046 - 256 BC) and was more often practiced by the royal class on the Autumnal Equinox. At that time, the custom had no festival
background at all. Later in the Sui (581 - 618 AD) and Tang (618 - 907 AD) dynasties, social prosperity inspired the custom of appreciating
the moon on the moon sacrifice ceremony day among common people and the two merged. The people expressed their faith more liberally
than the royal class and so they did not strictly hold their activities on the Autumnal Equinox. So August 15th of the Chinese lunar calendar,
the closest full moon day to the Autumnal Equinox, turned out to be a better choice and was set as a fixed festival. This happened in the
Tang Dynasty. By the time of the Northern Song Dynasty (960 - 1127 AD), Mid-Autumn Festival had already become a widely celebrated
folk festival.

In addition to the romantic legend Chang E Flying to the Moon mentioned above, there are many other legends and stories related
to this grand festival. The most well-known ones include Jade Rabbit Pounding Medicine, Wu Gang Chopping Laurel Tree, and Zhu
Yuanzhang and the Moon Cake Uprising.
On the festival day, family members gather to offer sacrifice to the moon, appreciate the bright full moon, eat moon cakes, and
express strong yearnings toward family members and friends who live afar. In addition, there are some other customs like
playing lanterns, and dragon and lion dances in some regions. The unique customs of ethnic minorities are interesting as well,
such as “chasing the moon” of Mongolians, and “steal vegetables or fruits” of the Dong people.
Moon Cake
The Moon Cake is the special food of Mid-Autumn Festival. On that day, people sacrifice moon cakes to the moon as an offering
and eat them for celebration. Moon cakes come in various flavors according to the region. The moon cakes are round,
symbolizing the reunion of a family, so it is easy to understand how the eating of moon cakes under the round moon can evoke
longing for distant relatives and friends. Nowadays, people present moon cakes to relatives and friends to demonstrate that
they wish them a long and happy life.