One of the most important festivals is the Mid-Autumn Day. Chinese ancestors believed that the 7th,8th,and 9th lunar months belong to autumn. So the Mid-Autumn Day falls on the 15th day of the eighth lunar month.
In mid-autumn, farmers have just finished gathering their crops and bringing in fruits from the orchards果园. Overjoyed狂喜的 with the bumper丰富的 harvest, they feel quite relaxed after a year's hard work. So the 15th of the eighth lunar month has gradually evolved as成为 a widely celebrated festival for ordinary people.
Night falls. The land is bathed in silver moonlight, as at this time of the year the weather is usually fine and the sky usually clear. Families set up tables in their courtyards 庭院or sit on their balconies, chatting and sharing offerings祭品 to the moon. Together they enjoy the enchanting迷人的 spell of night. Naturally at this pleasant moment people are reminded of beautiful legends about the moon. The most popular in China is an ancient story telling how a girl named Chang'e flew to the moon.
Long long ago， a terrible drought干旱plagued折磨；困扰 the land. Ten suns burned fiercely猛烈地 in the sky like smoldering 情绪郁积的volcanoes火山. The land was parched烤, and rivers went dry. Many people died of hunger and thirst. Then there appeared a brave young man named Hou Yi who took out his red bow and white arrows箭and shot down nine suns one after another一个接一个的. The weather immediately turned cooler and heavy rains filled the rivers with fresh water. Life was restored恢复 on the earth and humanity was saved.
A beautiful girl secretly fell in love with the hero, who also loved the sweet girl. Soon they got married.
Out of respect for what he had done for his people, the goddess of the western sky rewarded the brave young man with a special drink that could give its drinker eternal永恒的 life in the heaven and made him an immortal being生命.
But an evil-minded person got to learn the secret and he managed to kill the hero by a sudden attack. The murder done, he ran to Chang'e who was waiting for the return of her husband from hunting. The wicked邪-恶的 murderer谋杀者 forced强迫 the wife to give him the drink. Without hesitation犹豫, the wife in her desperation绝望的境地 took up the drink and drank it in one gulp大口的.
Overcome with grief悲痛, the faithful忠诚wife rushed to the dead body of her husband and wept bitterly悲痛地. But soon the drink began to take effect and Chang'e felt herself lifted up from the ground towards heaven.
She had to live on the moon because it is nearest to the earth where her husband lay lifeless无生命的 and cold. She was alone and sad, never able to get back to earth.
For thousands of years the Chinese people have related涉及 the vicissitudes兴衰 of life to changes of the moon as it waxes渐满 and wanes渐淡的: joy and sorrow, parting and reunion. Because the round, full moon is a symbol of reunion and happiness, the mid-autumn day when the moon is at its fullest and brightest is naturally taken as the festival. In the Chinese written language, the word圆满(pronounced as "yuan man") means round and full literally字面上地, and metaphorically 暗喻it suggests family reunion and perfection 完美of life in the world. Every family would try to enjoy a happy reunion of its members in hoping for a more perfect life in future. Those who cannot return home on this day to watch the bright moon together with their dear ones always feel deep longing for their family. One of the most famous poets in the Tang Dynasty, Li Bai, expressed his longing for home place
in a short poem that has become known even to three-year-old kids for thousands of years. It runs like this:
Before my bed shine bright the silver moon beams,
It seems autumn frost on the chamber floor gleams.
Gazing up toward the full moon in the night skies,
I can't but lower my head as homesickness乡愁 does arise上升.
Today festivities欢宴，庆典 centered about the Mid-Autumn Day are more varied. After a family reunion dinner, many people like to go out to attend special performances in parks or on public squares. Some groups or clubs of retired people would hold gatherings or parties for appreciation of the moonlight.
Among all the ways to celebrate this particular occasion, one traditional custom has definitely remained unchanged and is shared by almost every Chinese. That is eating a special kind of food: moon-cakes. Most of these cakes are made in a round shape, again a symbol of the full moon. There are a number of fillings wrapped缠绕，包裹 inside the cakes, so it's also a golden time for markets and department stores to sell these special cakes to citizens市民 before and during the festival. They are really delicious, and it's not uncommon for people to send moon-cakes to friends and relatives as Mid-Autumn gifts. While eating the tasty moon-cakes and gazing at the bright moon in the night sky, people feel sweet and happy at heart.