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The Mid-Autumn Festival in Japan


The Mid-Autumn Festival is named Tsukimi (月見) or Otsukimi (literally means moon-viewing) in Japan. Celebrations of the festival take place on the 15th day of the eight month of the traditional Japanese Lunisor calendar (usually takes place in September of the solar calendar)

The main customs for the Japanese are offering sacrifices to the moon and celebrating the harvest during the Mid-Autumn Festival. The former is part of their ancient belief system, and it mainly expresses gratitude of the Japanese people to the moon (god).Mid-Autumn Festival Food

The Japanese make steamed buns, gnocchi (soft dough balls), rice cakes, and bread from newly-ripe taro, sweet potatoes, oriental giant radish, and beans. They put them on a table in their yards together with fruits, such as apples, pears, and persimmons. Lanterns also decorate their yards, adding much luster to the festival.


The moon-appreciating custom is more popular in urban areas than in rural areas in Japan during the Mid-Autumn Festival. The Mid-Autumn Festival is considered more as a festival for celebrating the harvest by Japanese farmers.

Silver Grass for Mid-Autumn Festival

Silver grass is considered an essential part of the Mid-Autumn Festival. It symbolizes the coming of autumn in traditional Japanese culture, and was once used by the Japanese to decorate roofs and feed animals. Silver grass is also said to ward off bad spirits. It is usually put in a vase or positioned at the front door by farmers. It also serves as an offering to the moon god.

During the Mid-Autumn Festival in Japan, taro and gnocchi are the most common snacks, as their raw ingredients are freshly harvested before the festival. Most Japanese gnocchi are ball-shaped, but the ones from Osaka are taro-shaped.

Entertaining and Competing Activities

A number of entertaining competitions, such as sumo  wrestling and tugs-of-war, are held in the major cities of Japan during the Mid-Autumn Festival. The tugs-of-war are just for children, and the ropes are made of silver grass.

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