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Customs of Middle-Autumn Festival in Old Beijing

(CNTV)

09:20, October 21, 2011

Most of these customs have been forsaken with the modernization of the city. Today, they are still remembered by those who strive to keep their centuries-old tradition.

Worshiping the Moon

In old days, a platform for moon worshipping was set up in each house when the Mid-Autumn Festival approached. The offerings on the platform were mainly mooncakes and sometimes fruits were added. Fruits were meticulously arranged according to tradition. Peaches and pomegranates were traditionally put together, which symbolized big families; chestnuts and persimmons were arranged together, symbolizing prosperity; and longans were sprinkled, meaning family unity. For families with members far away from home, a bowl of lotus roots was laid, which expressed that the people away were missed.

Watching the Moon

Watching the moon was very popular in Beijing. There are two methods of moon-gazing: watching the moon directly and watching the reflection of the moon in water. Other entertainments accompanying watching the moon included writing prose, painting the moon and guessing riddles written on lanterns.

Watching Flowers

A "flower mountain" made up of pots of various flowers was set up on the window sill of each house when the Mid-Autumn Festival was near. On the night of the festival, the family would gather and watch the flowers.

Playing with Rabbit Figurines

A rabbit figurine is a popular Mid-Autumn Festival toy in old Beijing. The figurine is an artistic image of a personified or even deified rabbit based on the legendary jade rabbit on the moon. The figurines are made of clay and come in various shapes, but all are white-faced, wearing golden helmets and armors, with flags or canopies on the back. They ride such animals as lions, tigers, deer and elephants.

Rabbit figurines began to appear in markets from early in the eighth Chinese month (somewhere in the period late August to late September).They were the most popular items in the month of the Mid-Autumn Festival.

Nowadays, rabbit figurines have been gradually forgotten. The only places where they are likely to be seen are folk culture museums and art shops.

Email|Print|Comments(Editor:黄蓓蓓)

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