Elements of Intangible Cultural Heritage

    Chong Chao (Mid-Autumn Festival)







    Introduction:

    The Chong Chao, also known as Mid-Autumn Festival, because it corresponds to a time of harvest, this event is celebrated annually by the entire Chinese nation, on the 15th day of the eighth lunar month. The night before the Chong Chao (Mid-Autumn Festival) is called the “moon welcoming night”, and the day when the festival is celebrated is regarded as the “moon appreciation night”, while the day that follows is referred to as the “moon chasing night”. For Macao’s Chinese community, the Chong Chao (Mid-Autumn Festival) is an important occasion for family reunion to appreciate the moon, eat traditional mooncakes and enjoy the happiness of family gathering. Other festive foods usually include glutinous rice balls, taros, Shatian pomelos and water chestnuts. During the festival, streets and parks are decorated with a variety of Chinese lanterns. After dinnertime, it is common to see decorated streets and parks filled with people, with family members carrying their own lanterns and enjoying each other’s company, in harmony. This day is also an occasion for the local Chinese community to connect with their relatives and friends and extend their best wishes, also with the tradition of gifting traditional mooncakes.

     

    Conservation Status:

    With a long-standing history, the Chong Chao (Mid-Autumn Festival) is one of Macao’s public holidays. Before the festival, cake shops put in front of their shops fascinating decorations, lanterns, neon lamps and display boards to promote their home-made mooncakes, contributing towards a very unique festive atmosphere that has already become characteristics of this time of the year. Local citizens attribute great importance to the Chong Chao (Mid-Autumn Festival), participating actively in the event, including the various traditional activities, such as appreciating the moon together, displaying lantern decorations, reuniting with family members, and exchanging mooncake gifts. There are also many legends, stories and proverbs associated with this event which are widely known.

     

    Heritage Value:

    Being one the oldest and most traditional celebrations of Macao, the Chong Chao (Mid-Autumn Festival) is also an important event for the transmission of traditional Chinese culture in Macao and for the continuity of its practices and customs, which are also relevant for the study of local folk culture and the equally important promotion of traditional virtues and family values that are profoundly associated with Chinese culture.


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