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The Mid-Autumn Festival customs and legends

Different Celebrated Forms

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 perfomances 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 Qian-tang 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 outh of the Qiantang River is shaped lik 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.

Mid-Autumn Legend-the moon fairylady

Many years ago, there was a king in China. He was a brave man who did lots of belifits to the people. He admired a beautiful girl and made her stay in the palace so that he could see her whenever he wanted. But, the girl did not like the frightful figure of the king. She seldomly spoke a word in the palace. Each time the king went to her place, he used to show her some treasures and brought some gifts to the girl in order to make her smile and speak.

On every full moon, the girl would burned incenses and wax candles to worship the moon. People believed that there was a god lived in the moon that made the moon shine. Girls who wanted to be a beauty and have a handsome husband should worship the moon.

One day, the full moon of the eighth month, the king brought three herbs pills to show her.

"This is from the priest of the palace. If I eat them up, I can live forever." He exclaimed.

This was the first time the girl stuffs he brought.

He continued, "If you and I both take one, we will both live forever. No one can take you away from me!"

Because the king afraid of the pills would have side effects. He forced the girl to take the pill first. If nothing wrong with her after taking the pill, he would take it immediately. However, the girl recognized that if she took all three of them, the king would left her eventually. Therefore, the first time, she spoke to the king,"Let me have a look of the pills first. Otherwise, I will not try at all."

The king surprisingly the girl talked to him. So, he handed the pills to the girl. She did not say anything but eat all of them. The king was extremely angry. He wanted to kill her.

At this moment, the girl started to fly. She could fly because of the intake of the pills. The king could not catch her, but watched her flew toward the moon and disappeared.

After that, people believed that there was a beautiful girl stay in the moon with a little old man and a bunny. The old man was believed to be the god inside the moon and the bunny was his pet. Day after day, Chinese believed that there were people lived in the moon. Their movement made the dark spot when we looked up to the moon. People used to worship the girl to glorify her chastity. So, on every full moon of the mid-Autumn became a festival in order to memorize her.
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