In Chinese culture, the Mid-Autumn Festival is a time of family, thankfulness, and prayers for good fortune in the days ahead. Celebrating the holiday outside of China may take a little more effort, but that doesn’t mean you can’t still get in the spirit. Here are a few ideas for incorporating the traditions of the Mid-Autumn Festival no matter where you are.
Gaze at the biggest, brightest full moon of the year
The moon is central to the Mid-Autumn Festival, so much that the festival is often referred to as the Moon Festival. The large full moon that coincides with Mid-Autumn is viewed as a symbol of rejuvenation and rebirth, offering hopes for a bountiful harvest ahead. Wherever you are in the world, stopping to gaze up at the largest full moon of the year and feeling the sense of harmony and unity it inspires is a great way to get into the Mid-Autumn spirit.
Share mooncakes with family and friends
Considered the official delicacy of the Mid-Autumn Festival, this round Chinese pastry symbolizes completeness and unity. Mooncakes are often shared among family and friends, and making your own can be a great way to share the holiday with the people in your life you feel close to. For a nice finishing touch, use a decorative mold to give yours a special design.
Light up the night with a paper lantern
Once the sun goes down during Mid-Autumn Festival, it’s common to see children lighting their way with homemade paper lanterns. For a fun way to brighten things up, try making a lantern of your own. Once you’ve found some inspiration and instructions, all it takes is some basic craft supplies, a candle, and a little creativity. For an even more impressive display, try making a Kongming lantern, which involves a candle that heats the air and lets your creation take flight.
Watch or perform a Dragon Dance
One of the most common ways people celebrate the Mid-Autumn Festival is the Dragon Dance. The dance is performed by a train of dancers propping up a long, colorful dragon into the air, and is meant to bring good fortune to those who witness it. If you live near a sizable community of Chinese expats, there’s a good chance you’ll be able to enjoy this ancient ritual dance.
Stay close to loved ones back home
With an emphasis on family and good fortune, the Mid-Autumn Festival mirrors the Chinese tradition of sending money to loved ones during the holidays. To celebrate, we’re waiving transfer fees1 for qualifying money transfers from the U.S. to China when you send money via WeChat from September 5th through 30th. Send up to $500 USD for pickup in cash or transfer up to $750 USD directly to a participating bank account3. Plus, making a qualifying money transfer and following Western Union on WeChat will earn you a promo code for WeChat Out minutes2, to call loved ones back home in China.
Looking for more reasons to celebrate? Check out some of these other little-known holidays that offer a unique chance to celebrate.
1 Western Union also makes money from currency exchange. When choosing a money transmitter, carefully compare both transfer fees and exchange rates. Fees and foreign exchange rates may vary by brand, channel, and location based on a number of factors. Fees and rates subject to change without notice. Subject to applicable taxes (if any).
2 Phone service is provided by WeChat and not Western Union. For customer service and
current rate information, contact email@example.com or visit: http://blog.wechat.com/2016/06/07/invite-friends-get-free-calls-with-latest-release-of-wechat-out-globally/ and http://blog.wechat.com/2016/05/12/wechat-out-voip-now-rapidly-expanding-around-the-world/
3 To qualify, the sender must provide a UnionPay debit card number that starts with ‘62’ and that has been associated with a bank account held at a supported bank. Major commercial banks as defined by the China Banking Regulatory Commission Annual Report 2014. Transfers to certain accounts may only be available during China bank processing hours, which are 7.30am to 9.45pm China Standard Time. Funds sent to a first time receiver may be delayed until WU receives additional required information from the receiver. Service and funds availability depends on certain factors including amount sent, currency availability, regulatory issues, consumer protection issues, identification requirements, required receiver action(s), delivery restrictions, location hours, and differences in time zones (collectively, “Restrictions”).
* Date available will be displayed on receipt for international transfers over $15. Service and funds availability depends on certain factors including the Service selected, the selection of delayed delivery options, special terms applicable to each Service, amount sent, destination country, currency availability, regulatory issues, consumer protection issues, identification requirements, delivery restrictions, agent location hours, and differences in time zones (collectively, “Restrictions”).