The moon fairy lives hidden away in a beautiful crystal palace, but watch very closely on the
night of the year’s brightest and fullest moon to see her come out and dance…
Time of the Year: The third major holiday of the Chinese calendar, the Moon Festival takes place on
the 15th day of the eighth lunar month (August). This date parallels the solar calendar’s Autumn
Equinox; therefore it is an ideal time to celebrate abundance of the summer’s harvest as the moon
reaches its fullest and brightest peaks.
Name: Moon Festival (also commonly known as Chung Chiu, Mid-Autumn Festival, Mooncake
Description: Many places in China designate the Moon Festival as a national holiday due to its
widespread popularity. As a celebration of abundance and togetherness, family reunion is one of the
festivals most important elements. Regardless of their current location, relatives often return to their
parent’s home in order to celebrate together. Also, farmers celebrate the end of the summer harvest on
Origin: The festival dates back 3,000 years to China’s Zhou dynasty. Like most Chinese
celebrations, several ancient legends promote the mystery and magic surrounding its historical origin.
Activities: One of the most delightful customs behind this traditional Chinese festival involves sugar
and sweets! Special moon-shaped sweet cakes are the most popular symbol of Chung Chiu
Although it is unknown when the custom of eating mooncake to celebrate the Moon Festival
actually began, one legend traces its origin to the early 14th century. Similar to legends of Europe’s
ancient Trojan Horse, mooncakes may have actually helped generate a revolution. Under the Mongol
rulers of the Yuan Dynasty, group gatherings were banned, making it nearly impossible to plan a
rebellion. Considering that the Mongols did not eat mooncakes, a Chinese rebel leader devised a
scheme to rally the Han Chinese to overthrow the oppressive Yuan dynasty. He arranged to present
friends with round mooncakes as a symbolic gesture of the Mongolian emperor’s longevity. However,
the leader actually had his followers place pieces of paper with the date the Han Chinese were to
strike- the fifteenth night of the eighth month. This Chinese folk tale credits the mooncake with
allowing a rebel leader to spread his revolutionary message, thus ending the Yuan dynasty.
Other common traditions include gathering friends and family to barbeque under the moon,
lighting lanterns and burning incense, planting Mid-Autumn trees and participating in fire dragon
dances, or simply gazing at the moon and making special wishes.
(Source: The Moon Food Page, http://home.hiwaay.net/~krcool/Astro/moon/moonfood/)
“This recipe for Mooncakes comes from Shanghai. Originally made in moon cake molds with imprints
such as chrysanthemum pattern or other traditional Chinese characters. They should be about three
inches (seven centimeters) in diameter. Before baking - invent and draw your own "traditional
4 cups flour s tbsp. Margarine2 tbsp. rice flour or poppy seeds
Preheat oven to 400F or 200C - Recipe makes about 15 cakes.
Sift the flout, sugar and salt together.
Chop the margarine into pieces and rub into the flour until crumbs form.
Add enough hot water (about half a cup) to make a pastry dough.
Cover with a cloth.
Roast the peanuts in a hot pan for two minutes.
Add the sesame seeds, then put a lid on to stop them from jumping out of the pan.
Roast for a further two minutes.
Put the peanuts and seeds in a food processor or blender and grind with the other nuts.
Add to the rest of the filling ingredients and mix together.
Roll out the pastry on a floured board.
Cut rounds with a pastry cutter to fill the mold - if you have one - or make little pie cases.
Rub the mold with margarine and spread pastry over the bottom and sides of the mold.
Put in a tablespoon of filling. Press down gently.
Wet the edges of the pastry and cover with another round to make a lid.
Seal together, and remove from the mold if you are using one.
Put all the cakes on a greased baking sheet. Beat the eggs and sesame oil together and brush
each cake with this mixture.
Bake about thirty minutes until the cakes are golden brown.
"Moon Biscuits" Recipe
“Moon Biscuits are traditionally eaten with wine during various moon celebrations or rituals. They are
made in the shape of the crescent moon, and the whole hazelnuts in them represent the Full Moon that
is to come.”
Preheat oven to 300F or 150C.
Beat the butter or margarine with the sugar until blended.
Add the flour, and mix together to form a dough.
Knead on a floured surface.
Gently work the whole hazelnuts through it, flatten out to a depth of about half an inch.
If you have a moon-shaped pastry cutter, use this to form the biscuits.
However, you may want to cut the moon shapes yourself with a small sharp knife.
You can even add a few features, or Moon symbols, to the surface.
Place the biscuits on a baking sheet, and put in the oven until light golden brown.
Other mooncake recipes can be found at http://chinesefood.about.com/
Useful weblinks and Activities for Children:
The Stories of the Chinese Mid Autumn Festival
The following free site has children’s activities related to the Moon Festival, such as printable coloring
pages, craft ideas, e-cards and lesson plans including how to make a Chinese dragon puppet!
Easy to make mooncakes for children, photos, stories and more!
Moon Calendar 2006
Written by: Christina Venessa Becherer email@example.com