Every year, people in China will gather with their families to celebrate the Mid-Autumn Festival on the 15th day of the eighth month of the Chinese lunar calendar. Traditionally, they will place food on altars in old yards, among which moon cake is specially prepared for this festival. When the night falls down, they will look at the full moon in the sky and send regards to relatives and friends far away from home.
The custom of Mid-Autumn Festival can be traced back as far as the Xia and Shang dynasties. In ancient China, the day was considered a harvest festival since fruits, vegetables and grain had been collected from the fields. The round shape of moon and moon cakes also shows that it is a time for family reunion.
There is a well-known story about the Mid-autumn Festival --- "Chang-O Flees to the Moon".
Long ago, there were 10 suns in the sky, and these were the sons of the Jade Emperor. Rivers dried up, the land became barren, and many people died.
Seeing the death and destruction caused by his sons, the Jade Emperor took this matter to the god Hou Yi. The Emperor asked Hou Yi to persuade his sons to rise up away from the earth to end the catastrophe.
When Hou Yi asked the suns to leave the sky, they refused. Made angry by their defiance, Hou Yi, a great archer, launched arrows at the suns, shooting them down one by one until his wife Chang-O pleaded with him to save one sun to keep the earth warm and bright.
Knowing that the Jade Emperor was furious at the slaying of his sons, Hou Yi and Chang-O were forced to stay on earth.
Chang-O was unhappy, so her husband tried to win back her favour by gathering herbs that would give them once again the power to ascend to heaven. Chang-O remained angry, however, and ate all the herbs herself. She flew up to the moon, where she remains alone, living in the Moon Palace.