China Highlights ® CUSTOMIZE

Mid-Autumn Festival in China 2018

This browser does not support the video element.

The video is loading...

Mid-Autumn Festival is a harvest festival, celebrated in most East Asian countries, such as China and Vietnam. The festival takes places on month 8 day 15 of the Chinese calendar. In 2018 it's on September 24th.

Also called the Moon Festival or MooncakeFestival, it is celebrated when the moon is believed to be the biggest and fullest, and mooncake is the main most characteristic festival food.  

It is the second most important festival in China after Chinese New Year. To the Chinese, the festival means family reunion and peace.

Festival Facts

Read more on 10 Interesting Mid-Autumn Facts.

How the Chinese Celebrate Mid-Autumn

Chinese people celebrate the festival with many traditional and meaningful activities, such as eating dinner with family, hanging lanterns, guessing lantern riddles, and worshipping the moon.

Since 2008, the festival has been a 3-day public holiday in mainland China. In 2018, the holiday will be September 24–6, combining the National Day holiday and a three weekend days.

New celebrations have developed in recent years. The younger generations prefer traveling, surfing the Internet, and using smart phone apps to celebrate with their families.

The Top 5 Cities in China for Mid-Autumn Festivities

Some regions like Hong Kong will hold dragon and lion dances, which draw many participants and spectators. The special Mid-Autumn customs of China's ethnic minorities are also very interesting.

The following are the top 5 cities in China to go for the Mid-Autumn Festival:

What the Chinese Eat for Mid-Autumn Festival

Mooncakes are the must-eat Mid-Autumn food in China. They are a kind of traditional Chinese pastry. Chinese people see in the roundness of mooncakes a symbol of reunion and happiness.

Other foods eaten during the festival are harvest foods, such as crabs, pumpkins, pomeloes, and grapes. People enjoy them at their freshest and most nutritious.

Festival food traditions are also changing. The younger generations have their own ideas about what should be eaten. Most of them don't like mooncakes, and prefer to eat what they like.

Read more on Mooncakes and The Top 10 Mooncake Flavors.

Why Mid-Autumn Festival is Celebrated and How it Started

Chinese emperors worshiped the sun and moon every year, to pray for a good harvest, since the earliest recorded times. They believed the sun and moon are in charge of the universe.

The festival has history of over 3,000 years. It was derived from the custom of moon worship during the Shang Dynasty (c.1600–1046 BC).

Mid-Autumn was first celebrated as a festival during the Northern Song Dynasty (960–1127). Like the emperors, ancient people believed worshipping the moon and eating together round a table would bring them good luck and happiness.

How Mid-Autumn Is Celebrated in China's Neighboring Countries

In many of China's neighboring nations Mid-Autumn is widely celebrated. Many interesting activities with unique local features are held.

In Singapore, Malaysia, and the Philippines, countries with many ethnic Chinese citizens, celebrations are more Chinese, such as lighting lanterns and dragon dances.

In other countries, such as Japan and Vietnam, which have also been influenced deeply by Chinese culture, new celebrations have been derived from their unique cultures.

Traveling During Mid-Autumn Festival

Mid-Autumn Festival is a national holiday for the Chinese. Chinese people increasingly love travelling whenever holidays permit.

The festival has long been a statutory day of public holiday in mainland China. The holiday is always combined with two adjacent days (if these are not weekend days then the closest weekend days are worked to compensate). In 2018, Mid-Autumn falls conveniently on Monday September 24, so the weekend before makes up the 3-day holiday.

Chinese people increasingly love to travel during their holidays, so expect crowds at China's tourist attractions if you travel in this period. Book in advance and let somebody in the know like China Highlights help you to arrange your trip to avoid the crowds.

Things You Might Not Know About the Festival

Start planning your tailor-made China tour by contacting one of our specialists… Create Your Trip