During the Northern Song Dynasty (960-1127), the 15th
day of the eighth lunar month was designated as the Mid-Autumn
Festival. During the Zhou Dynasty (c. 11th century - 256 BC),
the night of the roundest moon of the year was an occasion
for the Chinese to hold rituals to greet the cool weather
and sacrifice to the Moon Goddess. By the Tang Dynasty ( AD
618 - 907) merry-making had become part of the festival, as
had watching the moon rise and enjoying its full, silvery
When did this festival first begin? No exact date can
be found in historical documents, but scholars assume that
it is related to 2 customs in China.
The first custom concerns farmers.
China is an agricultural country, and farming is closely related
to the seasons. In ancient times, farmers worshipped the Earth
God to pray for a good harvest, when they sowed the seeds
in spring. This was known as spring worship. During autumn,
farmers also worshipped the Earth God to thank him for giving
them a good harvest. This was known as autumn reward. Since
the 15'" month of the 8th month is the time when rice
paddies are harvested, some people believe that the Mid Autumn
Festival came from the autumn reward ritual.
The second custom concerns worship
of the moon. According to astronomy, the Mid Autumn Festival
occurs at the autumn equinox. At this time, the sunlight shines
vertically on the equator, equally dividing the day and night
in both the southern and northern hemispheres. The moon appears
in the evening with gentle winds and light clouds. This is
the best time to watch the moon. People later made this day,
the day to worship the moon.
Read about The
Moon Fairylady and The