Phnom Penh: The Chinese mid-autumn moon festival is celebrated by Vietnamese and Chinese-Cambodians on the 15th day of the 8th month of the Chinese Calendar, which corresponds to September or October. This year it falls on September 24. The festival is celebrated to celebrate the harvest of people and to worship and honor the moon. In Malaysia, Singapore and the Philippines, it is called the Lantern Festival or the Lunar Festival.
On the 15th of the each lunar month, the moon is at its roundest and brightest, symbolizing togetherness and reunion in Chinese culture.
The harvest moon (the full moon at Mid-Autumn, closest to the fall equinox) is traditionally believed to be the brightest of the year.
Month 8 day 15, is traditionally the time rice is supposed to mature and be harvested. So, people take this festival as an opportunity to celebrate the harvest and worship their gods to show their gratitude.
According to the legendary Chinese legend, it is assumed that the Lunar New Year has been celebrated since the Shang Dynasty (1600-1046BC).
T here is a myth that long ago, humanity suffered a major crisis is in the sky, with up to 10 suns, causing the earth to be hot, with drought, no rain and difficult living for both humans, animals, and plants.
In the ancient past, there was a hero named Hou Yi who was excellent at archery. His wife was Chang’e. One year, the ten suns rose in the sky together, causing great disaster to people. Yi shot down nine of the suns and left only one to provide light. An immortal admired Yi and sent him the elixir of immortality. Yi did not want to leave Chang’e and be immortal without her, so he let Chang’e keep the elixir.
But Peng Meng, one of his apprentices, knew this secret. So, on the fifteenth of August in the lunar calendar, when Yi went hunting, Peng Meng broke into Yi’s house and forced Chang’e to give the elixir to him. Chang’e refused to do so. Instead, she swallowed it and flew into the sky. Since she loved very much her husband and hoped to live nearby, she chose the moon for her residence. When Yi came back and learned what had happened, he felt so sad that he displayed the fruits and cakes Chang’e liked in the yard and gave sacrifices to his wife. People soon learned about these activities, and since they also were sympathetic to Chang’e they participated in these sacrifices with Yi.
Understanding the feelings of their valued Hou Yi, everyone (Chinese people) celebrated the festival. Every month, every month, every day, from that date.
How to celebrate Lunar New Year
Traditionally, family gather to observe the full moon and eat moon cake. There are also some customs such as lanterns, to honor the moon goddess.
People believe that after the ceremony, there will be happiness, prosperity, and enlightenment.
In celebration of the ceremony, the people arrange some offerings and various Chinese cakes. Fruit and vegetables are displayed with lemons, fruits, pomegranates, grapefruits, tubers, potatoes, coconuts, etc. symbolizing a good harvest.