The History and Origins of the Mid-Autumn Festival
The Mid-autumn Festival dates back over 3,000 years, to moon worshipping in the Shang Dynasty. Ancient Chinese emperors worshiped the moon in the autumn, as they believed that the practice would bring them another harvest year. The word 芒鈧搈id-autumn芒鈧?first appeared in the Zhou Dynasty. During that time, worshipping the moon on the 15th night of the eighth month had spread to high officials and rich families. The practice entailed placing a large table in the middle of the yard under the moon, and they put offerings such as fruits and snacks on the table. However, not until the early Tang Dynasty was the day officially celebrated as a traditional festival. It then became an established festival during the Song Dynasty, and has become as popular as the Spring Festival since the Ming and Qing Dynasties.
Appreciating the moon has been a custom since the Tang Dynasty (618芒鈧€?07). Not only the rich merchants and officials, but also the common citizens, liked appreciating the moon together at that time. The rich merchants and officials held big parties in their big courts. They drank and appreciated the bright moon. Music and dances were also indispensable. The common citizens just prayed to the moon for a good harvest.
The tradition of eating mooncakes during the festival bgan in Yuan Dynasty. At the end of Yuan Dynasty (1271芒鈧€?368, a dynasty ruled by the Mongols), the Han people芒鈧劉s army wanted to overthrow the rule of the Mongols, so they planed an uprising, but they had no way to inform every Han who wanted to join them of the time of the uprising without being discovered by the Mongols. One day, the military counselor of the Han people芒鈧劉s army, Liu Bowen, thought out a stratagem related to mooncakes. Liu Bowen asked his soldiers to spread the rumor that there would be a serious disease in winter and eating mooncakes was the only way to cure the disease, then he asked soldiers to write "uprising, at the night of Mid-Autumn Festival" on papers and put them into mooncakes then sell them to common Han people. When the night of the Mid-Autumn Festival came a huge uprising broke out. From then on, people eat mooncakes every Mid-Autumn Festival to commemorate the uprising.