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Dates of Mid-Autumn Festival
The Mid Autumn festival starts on the 15th day of the 8th lunar month.
If the day after Mid Autumn Festival holiday falls on a Sunday, the following Monday will be a national holiday in Hong Kong.
This festival originated in a fairy tale. A hero names Hou Yi saved his people by shooting down the other nine suns that burned his people to death. He was then bestowed with the elixir of immortality by the Queen Mother of the West.
He did not want to consume the elixir and leave his beautiful but very mortal wife, Chang Er, so he gave the elixir to his wife for safekeeping. Unfortunately, Hou Yi's disloyal apprentice forced Chang Er to swallow the elixir. She then became a supernatural being. She flew to the moon, and from there watched her husband.
Knowing that his wife had now been separated from him, Hou Yi was crazed with grief. Looking up at the moon one night, he saw a figure like his wife. He hurriedly took cakes and succade (preserves in sugar, whether fruits, vegetables, or confections) as offerings to his wife.
Upon hearing this, people developed the custom of watching the moon and eating moon cakes annually on this day.
Activities include Fire Dragon dancing, enjoying the displays of lanterns, and eating moon cakes. People eat moon cakes under the moonlight with family members. Moon cakes are pastries filled with gooey sesame, red bean, and walnut meats.
People will use the break to visit their families, with over 40 million train journeys taking place in China during the days of the festival.
In Hong Kong and Macau, the day after the Mid Autumn Festival is a public holiday. This may sound strange at first, but most of the events and festivities happen in the evening of Mid Autumn Festival day, so the day after is a welcome chance to relax and recover after a late evening.