The joyous Mid-Autumn Festival was celebrated on the fifteenth day of the eighth moon, around the time of the autumn equinox(秋分). Many referred to it simply as the "Fifteenth of the Eighth Moon".
This day was also considered as a harvest festival since fruits, vegetables and grain had been harvested by this time and food was abundant. Food offerings were placed on an altar set up in the courtyard. Apples, pears, peaches, grapes, pomegranates(石榴), melons, oranges and pomelos(柚子) might be seen. Special foods for the festival included moon cakes, cooked taro(芋头)and water caltrope(菱角), a type of water chestnut resembling black buffalo horns. Some people insisted that cooked taro be included because at the time of creation, taro was the first food discovered at night in the moonlight. Of all these foods, it could not be omitted from the Mid-Autumn Festival.
The round moon cakes, measuring about three inches in diameter and one and a half inches in thickness, resembled Western fruitcakes in taste and consistency. These cakes were made with melon seeds(西瓜子), lotus seeds(莲籽), almonds(杏仁), minced meats, bean paste, orange peels and lard(猪油). A golden yolk(蛋黄) from a salted duck egg was placed at the center of each cake, and the golden brown crust was decorated with symbols of the festival. Traditionally, thirteen moon cakes were piled in a pyramid to symbolize the thirteen moons of a "complete year," that is, twelve moons plus one intercalary(闰月的) moon. uUlsda E
The Mid-Autumn Festival is a traditional festivity for both the Han and minority nationalities. The custom of worshipping the moon can be traced back as far as the ancient Xia and Shang Dynasties (2000 B.C.-1066 B.C.). In the Zhou Dynasty(1066 B.C.-221 B.C.), people hold ceremonies to greet winter and worship the moon whenever the Mid-Autumn Festival sets in