The Ultimate Guide to the Mid-Autumn Festival


Celebrated on the fifteenth day of the 8th lunar month, the Mid-Autumn Festival is a very special time for the Chinese community.

Also known as the Chinese Moon Festival, the event hosts a number of culturally significant activities. It includes family reunions, worshipping the moon, eating mooncake and making paper lanterns. Some compare it to Thanksgiving due to its strong focus on family and food.

Origins of the Mid-Autumn Festival

The Mid-Autumn Festival comes from a history of moon worship, dating back to the Zhou Dynasty over 3,000 years ago.

In ancient China, emperors would worship the moon each year in August, in the hopes of a more plentiful harvest. Over time, the custom became more accepted and continues to this day.

Another popular origin story is the mythical tale of Chang’e, the moon goddess. While associated with a few different myths, she is best known for drinking the elixir of immortality. However the husband’s apprentice tries to steal it for himself. As a result, she becomes immortal and flees to the moon.

After discovering the fate of his wife, the archer Hou Yi started leaving her favourite desserts and fruits out every night. This tradition continues today.

Popular Mid-Autumn Festival Activities


The moon is believed to be the brightest and fullest during the Mid-Autumn festival.

There are many ways to participate in the Mid-Autumn Festival. Some activities are more popular than others, depending on which region you live in. Generally speaking, though, the most widely accepted activities are:

Eating mooncakes!

The mooncake is a traditional Chinese baked good. It’s a round pastry made out of dough and various fillings. They can be nuts, red bean paste, lotus root paste, egg yolk and fruit. The round shape symbolises the importance of the moon and family reunion.

Worshipping and appreciating the moon

The moon is believed to be the brightest and fullest during the Mid-Autumn festival. Families sit at a round table to enjoy a large feast, make wishes, offer incense and kowtow to the moon.

Making and hanging festival lanterns

A popular children’s activity is to craft and hang paper lanterns which enhances the festive spirit. The lanterns come in all shapes and sizes, ranging from farm animals and milk cartons, to cylindrical and ball lanterns.

A Special Time for Chinese International Students

For many Chinese international students studying at Torrens University, this year’s Mid-Autumn Festival will look a bit different.

Without the ability to travel and visit family in person, some students may feel alone and isolated so it’s important to think of other creative ways to stay in touch with loved ones.

This could include hosting a virtual family reunion or celebrating and sharing this culturally significant festival with friends nearby.

Being an International Student at Torrens University Australia

At Torrens University Australia, we are committed to providing access to quality higher education for all international students.

This means ensuring not just a high standard of teaching and learning outcomes across the board, but also celebrating a diverse range of cultures. For this reason, we believe it is important to honour events like the Mid-Autumn Festival.


Thinking of studying in Australia? Click here, and find out how being an international student at Torrens University can help give you a competitive edge on a global scale.
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