Mid Autumn Festival: A Time for Gathering and Mooncakes
Updated: Feb 18, 2022
As Summer is coming to a close the holiday season is upon us.
A holiday that you may not have heard of is right around the corner and is one of the most important ones in East Asian culture. It is called the Mid Autumn Festival. It occurs on the 15th day of the 8th month of the Lunar calendar so the exact date of it varies year to year based on the phases of the moon. This year it is September 21st 2021. The point is that it occurs when there is a full moon in the middle of Autumn, hence the name.
It is considered a national holiday in many countries, including China. It is a time where families gather together and is considered by some to be an event similar to Thanksgiving in the U.S.
There are certain foods that are eaten during this holiday with the most popular being mooncakes. They are a dense pastry made in a mold that displays an intricate pattern. They are filled with various things like red bean or egg yolks. They are not too sweet and are a staple at every Mid Autumn Festival gathering.
Another popular attraction for this holiday are lanterns hung up around houses or around the city. They symbolize prosperity and overabundance of riches. Sometimes they are decorated with words related to the concept of prosperity and others have stories on them. Some may have tales related to the moon goddess Chungah. She is the main character associated with this holiday, much like Santa is to Christmas.
Family Tension and Holidays
With any holiday that has family gatherings there may be some apprehension and stress involved despite it being an overall happy occasion. This is completely understandable, especially since it has been a tumultuous time all around the world.
Family tension is oftentimes unavoidable and complex. It is okay to allow yourself to take a break from family even if gatherings for holidays feel obligatory. It can be overwhelming and being able to notice when a break could be useful is important.
Another tip to ease anxiety or stress when around family is to set realistic expectations that some conflict might arise. Being able to do this can help you manage your own reactions proactively rather than reactively.
Anti-Asian Racism and the Mid Autumn Festival
With the Mid Autumn Festival being a holiday celebrated by Asian Americans, it makes sense to address the rise in racism against people of Asian descent as well. We have seen a significant increase in Asian hate crimes since the pandemic began due to ignorant and harmful claims that have unfortunately been circulating in the media. It is incredibly difficult to wrap our minds around unspeakable acts of violence and hatred. Therefore, it is also hard to talk about these things even though they have provoked anxiety and fear in Asian American communities.
This holiday centers around community and togetherness, which are powerful forces against darkness in the world. There is comfort in solidarity and a sense of community.
Even though there is chaos in the world, being able to feel seen and heard and hope for the future can help lessen the toll events take on us.
We at Mindsight want you to feel supported during this holiday season and all year round. Talking to a professional can help people in many different ways and there is value in feeling seen and heard. Give us a call today to schedule an appointment!
And may this Mid Autumn Festival be filled with signs of prosperity and homecoming for all who celebrate. 中秋节快乐！
Allie is a new clinician at Mindsight. She is obsessed with her Maltipoo, Mollie, and she will happily bombard you with photos. In her free time, she participates in activities such as bird watching, giving her plants a pep talk, and trying out new recipes with an 80% success rate. She can often be found in a hammock outside sipping a bubble tea and serenading the neighbors with her ukulele.
Check out her professional bio here.