Moon Festival FAQ

The Moon Festival, also known as the Mid-Autumn Festival, is an important holiday in the Chinese culture. Read on to learn more about the festival and how you might be able to celebrate with your student!

What is the Moon Festival?

The ancient Chinese observed the moon’s movements and observed its close relationship with seasonal changes and agricultural production. To express their thanks to the moon and celebrate the harvest, they offered a sacrifice to the moon on autumn days. There are many legends and stories related to the festival, but the most prominent one is the romantic legend of Chang E.

When is the Moon Festival?

It is celebrated on the 15th day of the eighth month of the Chinese calendar, which is in September or early October in the Gregorian calendar. This year, the festival falls on Sunday, September 27th.

Why is it called the Moon Festival or the Mid-Autumn Festival?

The festival is always celebrated in the middle of the autumn season, and is at the time of year when the moon is at its roundest and brightest.

How do you say “Happy Moon Festival” in Chinese?

“中秋节快乐” or, “Zhōngqiūjié kuàilè!” which is pronounced as”jong-chyoh-jyeah kweye-ler!”

How do people celebrate the Moon Festival?

Family members gather to offer sacrifice to the moon, appreciate the bright full moon, eat moon cakes, and express strong yearnings toward family and friends who live far away. Some regions also partake in dragon and lion dances and lantern lightings. Eating mooncakes is a way to express familial love and best wishes for harmonious and well-rounded lives.

What are mooncakes?

Mooncakes are round like a full moon, which in Chinese culture is a symbol of peace, prosperity, and reunion for the whole family. The traditional fillings for mooncakes include lotus seed paste, sweet bean paste, and egg yolk. Mooncakes with modern flavors such as ice cream or chocolate are becoming popular as well. Other celebratory practices vary geographically, but include lantern making, cruising in local rivers, etc.

What may be the reactions of students during the Moon Festival?

Many of our students are happy and excited to share stories of their past celebrations with you! This is a chance for them to show you some of their own culture. You may also notice your student understandably becoming homesick, as this is a family-focused holiday. Each student reacts differently during the holidays, but recognizing the festival is a great way to show your student that you care and are cognizant of what they are missing back home during this time.


If you have any further questions about the Moon Festival, or would like ideas on how to celebrate it with your student, please contact your local Residential Coordinator.