Also known as the "Full Moon Festival" or "Chinese Moon Festival,"the Mid-Autumn Festival falls on the fifteen day of the eighthlunar month. The reason for celebrating the festival during that time is that it is the time when the moon is at its fullest and brightest. At that day, the moon's orbit is at its lowest angle to the horizon, making the moon appear brighter and larger than any other time of the year.

The Mid-autumn Festival is one of the two most important occasions in Chinese calendar (the other being the Spring Festival or the Chinese New Year) and it is an official holiday. It is a time for family reunion, so people far from home will gaze longingly at the moon and think about their families. The Mid-Autumn Festival this year falls on September 19, 2013. This year we will celebrate it for 3-days from September 19, 2013 to September 21, 2013.

Celebrations in Ancient China and Today

For thousands of years, the Chinese people have related the vicissitudes of life to changes of the moon as it waxes and wanes; joy and sorrow, parting and reunion. Because the full moon is round and symbolizes reunion, the Mid-Autumn Festival is also known as the festival of reunion. All family members try to get together on this special day. Those who can not return home watch the bright moonlight and feel deep longing for their loved ones. Today, festivities centered about the Mid-Autumn Festival are more varied. After a family reunion dinner, many people like to go out to attend special performances in parks or on public squares.People in different parts of China have different ways to celebrate the Mid-Autumn Festival. In Guangzhou in South China, a huge lantern show is a big attraction for local citizens. Thousands of differently shaped lanterns are lit, forming a fantastic contrast with the bright moonlight. In East China's Zhejiang Province, watching the flood tide of the Qiantang River during the Mid-Autumn Festival is not only a must for local peple, but also an attraction for those from other parts of the country. The ebb and flow of tides coincide with the waxing and waning of the moon as it exerts a strong gravitational pull. In mid autumn, the sun, earth and moon send out strong gravitational forces upon the seas. The mouth of the Qiantang River is shaped like a bugle. So the flood tide which forms at the narrow mouth is particularly impressive. Spectators crowd on the river bank, watching the roaring waves. At its peak, the tide rises as high as three and a half meters.