On the 15th day of the 8th month of the lunar calendar, the moon is round and the Chinese people mark their Moon (or Mid-autumn) Festival. The round shape to a Chinese means family reunion. Therefore the Moon Festival is a holiday for members of a family to get together wherever it is possible.
On that day sons and daughters will bring their family members back to their parents' house for a reunion. Sometimes people who have already settled overseas will come back to visit their parents on that day.
As every Chinese holiday is accompanied by some sort of special food. On the Moon Festival, people eat moon cakes, a kind of cookie with fillings of sugar, fat, sesame, walnut, the yoke of preserved eggs, ham or other material. In Chinese fairy tales, there live on the moon the fairy Chang E, a wood cutter named Wu Gang and a jade rabbit which is Chang E's pet. In the old days, people paid respect to the fairy Chang E and her pet the jade rabbit.
The custom of paying homage to the fairy and rabbit is gone, but the moon cakes are showing improvement every year. There are hundreds of varieties of moon cakes on sale a month before the arrival of the Moon Festival this year. Some moon cakes are of very high quality and very delicious. An overseas tourist is advised not to miss it if he or she happens to be in China during the Moon Festival.
Poems on Moon and Home
The Mid-Autumn Moon
by Li Qiao
A full moon hangs high in the chilly sky,
All say it's the same everywhere, round and bright.
But how can one be sure thousands of li away
Wind and perhaps rain may not be marring the night?
The Yo-Mei Mountain Moon
by Li Bai
The autumn moon is half round above the Yo-mei Mountain;
The pale light falls in and flows with the water of the Ping-chiang River.
Tonight I leave Ching-chi of limpid stream for the three Canyons.
And glide down past Yu-chow, thinking of you whom I can not see.