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Mid-Autumn Moon Festival

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The Mid-Autumn Festival, also known as the Moon Festival or Harvest Moon, is an East Asian celebration of abundance and togetherness. Falls on the 15th day of the 8th month of the lunar calendar (usually around mid- or late-September in the Gregorian calendar), it is a day of family reunions equivalent to the Western Thanksgiving. In many Asian countries people celebrate the abundance of the summer’s harvest. The traditional food of this festival is the moon cake, of which there are many different varieties.

The Mid-Autumn Festival is one of the two most important holidays in Asia (the other being the Asian Lunar New Year), traced back as far as the ancient China’s Xia and Shang Dynasties (2000 B.C.-1066 B.C.). Farmers celebrate the end of the summer harvesting season on this date. Traditionally, on this day, family members and friends will gather to admire the bright mid-autumn harvest moon, and eat moon cakes and pomeloes together. Accompanying the celebration, there are additional cultural or regional customs, such as:

* Eating moon cakes outside under the moon
* Putting pomelo rinds on one’s head
* Carrying brightly lit lanterns
* Burning incense in reverence to deities including Chang-Er (the Moon Goddess)
* Planting Mid-Autumn trees
* Collecting dandelion leaves and distributing them evenly among family members
* Lighting lanterns on towers
* Fire Dragon Dances

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