This year, the Chinese Mid-Autumn Festival takes place on September 21st. It is second in importance for the Chinese after the Chinese New Year and is celebrated on the fifteenth day of the eighth month of the lunar calendar. On the eve of the holiday, an event was organized at the Chinese Cultural Center, which was attended by the Director of APACCCEEC, Dr. Momchil Stanishev, as well as guests from China and Bulgaria. A side event was “Jiangxi Province Days”.
The program included musical performances, informational videos, a demonstration of Chinese medicine, a tea ceremony, as well as a photography exhibition on the theme of “The Unique Landscape of Scenic Jiangxi” and an exhibition of Jingdezhen porcelain. At the opening of the event, speeches were made by H.E. Dong Xiaojun, Ambassador of the People’s Republic of China to Bulgaria, Mr. Hong Hai, Director of the Chinese Cultural Center in Sofia, Mr. Ye Jianchun, Governor of the Government of Jiangxi Province, China and Mr. Julian Lekov, District Governor of Sofia Region. The event was colorful and gathered many people in one place with a keen interest in the Chinese culture.
The Mid-Autumn Festival is also known as Moon Festival because it is celebrated at that time of year when the moon is at its fullest and shines brightest. It dates back to the Zhou Dynasty (1045 BC – 221 BC), when the Chinese performed ceremonies to honor the moon, believing it would bring them a bountiful harvest the following year. Over time, it became more and more popular, and by the time of the Song Dynasty it had already become a holiday.
It is typical during the festival to consume foods prepared from seasonal fruits, and each ingredient is not randomly selected, but carries a symbolic meaning. An integral part of the Mid-Autumn Festival are the famous “mooncakes”. They can be round in shape, thus reflecting the shape of the moon, but they are also found in square shape. On their upper side are printed Chinese characters, which mean longevity and happiness. Usually, the cupcakes made in Northern China are sweet and vice versa – those from Southern China are salty.