Culture - Chinese

WP_Post Object ( [ID] => 38468 [post_author] => 1006 [post_date] => 2015-10-01 09:30:26 [post_date_gmt] => 2015-09-30 23:30:26 [post_content] =>

One question that is often raised about the Chinese Moon Festival is "why are sacrifices offered to the moon?", a practice that might seem odd in today's context.

The tradition of worshipping the moon during the Moon Festival can be traced as far back as 1000 BC, during the period of the Zhou dynasty. As the moon appears at its brightest during the Autumnal Equinox, which is around the harvest period, ancient Chinese emperors would worship the moon as they believed that it would bring them a generous harvest, peace, and prosperity in the coming year.

The moon wasn't the only celestial object that the Chinese emperor's paid homage to. They also presented offerings to the sun during the spring equinox, the earth on the summer solstice, the moon during the autumn equinox, and to the heavens above during the winter solstice. Each offering was presented to their corresponding altars, which were the Altar of the Sun, the Altar of the Earth, the Altar of the Moon, and the Altar of the Heavens - each located in four directions.

altar of the moon - Why are sacrifices offered to the Moon during Moon festival

Image: Google Royalty Free Image

The Altar of the Moon is in Beijing where the emperors from Ming and Qing dynasties offered sacrifices to the moon. They royalty worshiped the sun in the morning and they would worship the moon at night. This custom of worshipping the moon wasn't only followed by the royalty, even the upper nobility followed this custom which was later passed on to the commoners in subsequent dynasties.

The Chinese believe that marriages are made in heaven and prepared on the moon and the man who prepares this is an old man named Yue Lao who lives on the moon as well. He keeps a record of the names of new-born babies and is said to know everyone's future partners. He is one of the reasons why the Moon is so important to the Chinese, most importantly during the time of the Moon Festival. Young couples hike up to the top of the hills and moon-gaze with their partners in a hope that he would grant their wishes.

Why are sacrifices offered to the Moon

Image: Steve Corey used under the Creative Commons Licence

Children will go back to the homes of their parents to celebrate Moon Festival. The adults usually enjoy mooncakes and wine incorporated with Osmanthus flowers, while the young ones relish on piglet biscuits and enjoy with the brightly lit lanterns. An array of delicacies adorns the dinner table with the entire family get together. Other activities during moon festival include mooncake making, tangyuan making, lantern making, moon gazing, offering sacrifices to the moon, bursting crackers and praying to the moon are a few activities that take place during a moon festival.

[post_title] => Why are sacrifices offered to the Moon during Moon festival? [post_excerpt] => Ancient Chinese emperors worshipped the moon on Moon Festival as they believed that it would bring them generous harvest, peace and prosperity the coming year. [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => closed [ping_status] => closed [post_password] => [post_name] => why-are-sacrifices-offered-to-the-moon-during-moon-festival [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2017-11-28 12:24:30 [post_modified_gmt] => 2017-11-28 01:24:30 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => https://asianinspirations.com.au/?post_type=asian-culture&p=38468 [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => asian-culture [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 [filter] => raw )

Why are sacrifices offered to the Moon during Moon festival?

One question that is often raised about the Chinese Moon Festival is “why are sacrifices offered to the moon?“, a practice that might seem odd in today’s context.

The tradition of worshipping the moon during the Moon Festival can be traced as far back as 1000 BC, during the period of the Zhou dynasty. As the moon appears at its brightest during the Autumnal Equinox, which is around the harvest period, ancient Chinese emperors would worship the moon as they believed that it would bring them a generous harvest, peace, and prosperity in the coming year.

The moon wasn’t the only celestial object that the Chinese emperor’s paid homage to. They also presented offerings to the sun during the spring equinox, the earth on the summer solstice, the moon during the autumn equinox, and to the heavens above during the winter solstice. Each offering was presented to their corresponding altars, which were the Altar of the Sun, the Altar of the Earth, the Altar of the Moon, and the Altar of the Heavens - each located in four directions.

altar of the moon - Why are sacrifices offered to the Moon during Moon festival

Image: Google Royalty Free Image

The Altar of the Moon is in Beijing where the emperors from Ming and Qing dynasties offered sacrifices to the moon. They royalty worshiped the sun in the morning and they would worship the moon at night. This custom of worshipping the moon wasn’t only followed by the royalty, even the upper nobility followed this custom which was later passed on to the commoners in subsequent dynasties.

The Chinese believe that marriages are made in heaven and prepared on the moon and the man who prepares this is an old man named Yue Lao who lives on the moon as well. He keeps a record of the names of new-born babies and is said to know everyone’s future partners. He is one of the reasons why the Moon is so important to the Chinese, most importantly during the time of the Moon Festival. Young couples hike up to the top of the hills and moon-gaze with their partners in a hope that he would grant their wishes.

Why are sacrifices offered to the Moon

Image: Steve Corey used under the Creative Commons Licence

Children will go back to the homes of their parents to celebrate Moon Festival. The adults usually enjoy mooncakes and wine incorporated with Osmanthus flowers, while the young ones relish on piglet biscuits and enjoy with the brightly lit lanterns. An array of delicacies adorns the dinner table with the entire family get together. Other activities during moon festival include mooncake making, tangyuan making, lantern making, moon gazing, offering sacrifices to the moon, bursting crackers and praying to the moon are a few activities that take place during a moon festival.

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