Speaking of Mid-Autumn Festival gifts, it has become a major festival of Mid-Autumn Festival, and it has been around for years. How long is the origin of the Mid-Autumn Festival gift? You might as well guess first in your mind and try to see if you guess. It can be seen that the two “Mid-Autumn Festival” gift-giving styles are different in ancient and modern times. What is the difference between the two Mid-Autumn Festival? During the Mid-Autumn Festival in the ancient and the Middle Ages, moon cakes were not given, so what? When will Mid-Autumn Mooncakes become common? Is the shape different from now?
Two Mid-Autumn Festivals
There were two Mid-Autumn Festivals in ancient times, and the customs of celebrating and giving gifts were also very different. The “autumn equinox” brought by the sun is the true “Mid-Autumn” in the solar terms. The mid-point of autumn falls on the day when the autumn is “evenly divided between day and night” (currently around September 23 in the solar calendar); Wangri (now the 15th day of the eighth lunar month) is the “Mid-Autumn Festival” in folklore.
The ancients in ancient times attached great importance to the Mid-Autumn Festival, the day of the autumnal equinox. On this day, a ceremony to worship the moon is held to show the meaning of reverence. The Mid-Autumn Festival is as old as the history of Chinese culture. We can see from the “Da Dai Li” that there was an autumn ceremony called “Xiyue” in the ancient Xia, Shang and Zhou dynasties. “Zhou Li Zhu Shu”: “The emperor always has the sun at the spring equinox and the autumn equinox and the moon.” During the mid-autumn period from Xia, Shang and Wednesday to the Qing Dynasty, the heaven and earth ceremonies were held during the Mid-Autumn Festival. The official worshipped the moon god in the western suburbs of the palace. The source of worshiping the moon during the Mid-Autumn Festival comes from the ancient rituals of the autumn equinox.
The term “Mid-Autumn Festival” appeared in the Tang Dynasty. At the end of the Tang Dynasty and the beginning of the Song Dynasty, there was an anonymous “Dong Xian Ge” singing: “High in the osmanthus wind, approaching the Mid-Autumn Festival.” Tang Xuanzong liked to watch the moon and play the moon in the palace very much, but there was no “Mid-Autumn Festival” in the official holiday recorded in the “Tong Dian” of the Tang Dynasty.
In the Northern Song Dynasty, the Mid-Autumn Festival was already a big festival, full of joy and excitement. The avenue stores in Kyoto set up colorful buildings, decorated with various brocade flags, and the store’s wine flags are swaying. “Tokyo Menghualu” records that “before the Mid-Autumn Festival, all the stores sold new wine, reconnected with colorful flower heads on the facade, painted poles and drunk fairy brocade decorations.” At night, watching the moon and playing with the moon is the highlight, “Mid-autumn night, your family decorates the terraces and houses, and the folks compete to occupy the restaurant to play the moon.” People and vehicles gather at the night market, and Tongxiao is a bustling city that never sleeps.
The Southern Song Dynasty is the same to celebrate the Mid-Autumn Festival. Wu Zimu’s “Menglianglu” records the “Mid-Autumn Festival” to appreciate the moon: “The Mid-Autumn Festival on August 15th is just half of the third autumn, so it is called the Mid-Autumn Festival. The moonlight is brighter than usual on this night, and it is also called it’ On the evening of the moon.” On this day, in addition to going upstairs and admiring the moon, Hangzhou people do not have a curfew at night.
What do the ancients do not give mooncakes for the Mid-Autumn Festival?
Let’s talk about Mid-Autumn Festival gifts. What did the ancients give if they didn’t give mooncakes for Mid-Autumn Festival? The king of Zhou cared for the people at the same time during the autumn equinox sacrifice month. This is the ritual system of the Zhou Dynasty. At that time, the folks respected the elderly, so during the Mid-Autumn Festival, the porridge was sent to care for the elderly, not moon cakes. Mi porridge is nourishing and good for digestion, suitable for the elderly to eat and ingest. This kind of ritual system still exists in the Tang Dynasty. Han E’s “Suihua Jili” in the Tang Dynasty records respecting the elderly in the autumn, giving food and walking sticks for the elderly. At this time, moon cakes are not a fashionable feature of the Mid-Autumn Festival.
In the Song Dynasty, “moon cakes” appeared, but they were not the food for the Mid-Autumn Festival. During the Southern Song Dynasty, the market in the capital Qiantang (Hangzhou) often sold “moon cakes”, but they were not baked crispy moon cakes. They were steamed desserts. The Song Dynasty Zhou Mi’s Fengtuo Ji “Wulin Old Things” listed it as “steamed”. The “food” category is juxtaposed with big steamed buns, bean paste fillings, lotus leaf cakes, etc. It is a non-staple food and snack for ordinary people, and it is sold all year round.
When will Mid-Autumn Mooncakes become popular?
Eating Mid-Autumn Mooncakes has become a common Mid-Autumn Festival folk custom. When did giving mooncakes become the Mid-Autumn Festival? There is a common legend that at the end of the Yuan Dynasty, the saying “Killing the Tartar on the 15th of August” with moon cakes is not seen in the annals of history. In the Ming Dynasty, the Mid-Autumn Festival was also called the “Reunion Festival”. The folks generally made large and round moon cakes to worship the moon, sending the wish of “full moon, round cakes, and reunion of people” to the moon god. How big were the mooncakes at that time? Liu Tong’s “Overview of the Imperial Capital” says that “bread has a diameter and two feet”. After worshipping the moon, everyone must eat it. Moon cakes are also a great gift for relatives and friends. Gifting moon cakes is to send “reunion” blessings. The Ming Dynasty poet summer “Mid-Autumn Day Respect” described “moon cakes are like gold”. The golden moon cakes must be made by baking.
The customs of the Mid-Autumn Festival in the Qing Dynasty continued the Mingfeng. Gu Lu’s “Qing Jia Lu” said “Wuxian Chronicles: Mid-Autumn Festival selling cakes called moon cakes”; Fu Cha Dunchong’s “Yanjing Sui Shi Ji · Moon Cakes” records that moon cakes are used everywhere to worship the moon, and the large “moon cakes” are one foot in diameter. Many, the shapes of legendary characters such as Moon Palace, Toad and Jade Rabbit are painted on the cake. After the moon worship, family members share moon cakes, one for each person, and one for the wanderers who have not returned home. Some people keep the moon cakes until New Year’s Eve to eat, called “reunion cakes.”
Mooncake scenes appeared in Zhanghui novels in the Qing Dynasty. In “Dream of Red Mansions”, in Rongfu the day before the Mid-Autumn Festival, “the watermelon mooncakes are all available, only to be distributed”, accompanied by the Jia family to enjoy the moon and celebrate the Mid-Autumn Festival. From the above-mentioned local customs and folklore, we can see that moon cakes were popular in the Ming and Qing dynasties. @*#
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Editor in charge: Li Mei