The Mid-Autumn Moon Festival is coming up Sept. 29, 2023.
This holiday, celebrated throughout Asia, is fun for families – kids stay up to see the full moon and eat special sweets. At night, go out and look for Jade Rabbit and Lady in the Moon.
There are many Asian stories about the full moon, but one of our favorites is the Jade Rabbit. When three moon immortals came to earth, they turned themselves into poor old men and asked for food. The Fox gave them berries, the Monkey provided fruit, but the Rabbit offered himself. The immortals, touched by the Rabbit’s kindness, took the Rabbit to live with them in the moon.
To celebrate, we go into San Francisco to buy sweets and enjoy the festival fair on Grant St. in Chinatown (this year Mid Autumn Festival is celebrated Sept. 23 and 24).
Also in Chinatown, at the bakeries, pick up egg custard tarts, and mooncakes the coconuts, nuts and lotus seeds inside.
We also go to the Japanese sweet shop in San Francisco, Kitchoan Minamoto, to buy yuzu bunnies and Hangetsu half moon wafers.
Here’s children’s books to read about the Mid-Autumn Moon Festival:
- Thanking the Moon: Celebrating the Mid-Autumn Moon Festival by Grace Lin.
- The Mid-Autumn Festival is a beloved celebration – a family has a nighttime picnic, they light paper lanterns, drink round cups of tea, eat mooncakes, and admire the moon glowing in the sky. (Picture book)
- Moon Festival Wishes by Jillian Lin, Shi Meng.
- Hi! I am Mei.
Today is a special day for my family.
The moon is big and round tonight.
- A girl helps her grandmother prepare for the Moon Festival (Mid Autumn Festival) – decorate the house, make mooncakes, visit the temple, then enjoy a delicious dinner and light the lanterns. Plus legend of the goddess in the moon. Fun for younger kids. (Picture book)
- The Shadow in the Moon by Christina Matula, Pearl Law.
- As a family celebrates the Mid-Autumn Festival, Ah-Ma (grandmother) tells her granddaughters the story of the Spirit and Lady in the Moon. A courageous archer Hou-Yi is given a magic potion of immortality. When a thief tries to steal it, the archer’s wife Chang’e drinks the potion to keep it out of evil hands, and is transformed into an Immortal Lady in the Moon. The archer misses his wife so much, but every year he looks up to see her shadow in the moon, and puts out fresh fruit and mooncakes, her favorite foods. (Picture book)
- Our Moon Festival by Yobe Qiu and Christina Nel Lopez.
- The Moon Festival celebrated in three countries – Singapore, Vietnam and Japan.
- Zhong Qiu Jie – In Singapore, families eat extra-luck fish, roasted duck, mooncakes, and visit gardens filled with glowing lanterns.
- Tet Trung Thu – In Vietnam families light incense and put moon cakes on the family altar, watch water puppet shows and lion dances.
- Tsukimi – In Japan, haiku poems are read, special sweets are dango rice dumplings, food offerings to the moon for a good harvest. (Picture book)
- Starry River of the Sky by Grace lin.
- Fabulous fantasy, inspired by Chinese folktales, this is a story about the moon. A magical toad that is also a rabbit, boy who runs away but misses his family, girl whose brother is missing, magistrate turned into an angry tiger, jumping goldfish, firefly lanterns, garden full of snails, lady in the moon who grants wishes, and sage in the mountain who knows the secret of peace. (Chapter book)