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Home  /  Picture of the Day  /  Pic of the Day by Category  /  General China News 新闻   /  中秋节成了月饼节 - Mid-Autumn Festival becomes 'Mooncake Festival'
中秋节成了月饼节 - Mid-Autumn Festival becomes 'Mooncake Festival' print version
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Mooncakes (yuebing) embody the celebration of Mid-Autumn Festival and are also a product of the commercialized culture in modern China. This Chinese media article reports on the shopping frenzy, the changing meanings of mooncakes and how Chinese holidays become less associated with traditional customs and more attached with the gifts that represent them.



几千年前的中秋(Mid-Autumn)民俗[8]传承至今日,似乎只剩下了月饼,亲戚间送月饼、朋友间送月饼、给领导[9]送月饼、拉关系送月饼...... 民俗专家认为,中秋节(Mid-Autumn Festival)成了月饼节,甚至成了商家牟利[10]的工具,让中秋节渐渐远离了传统的文化内涵,亲人团圆、民间祭月(folk sacrifices to the moon)、庆祝丰收(celebrating the bumper harvest)等习俗。

中秋成了"月饼节",春节(Spring Festival)没了"年味"[11]、国庆节(National Day)成了"旅游节"、端午节(Dragon Boat Festival)成了"粽子[12]节"等等现实都在提醒我们,当物质文明[13]发达,传统节日的文化氛围[14]也正一点点被侵蚀[15]。



Early as August, coupons for mooncakes are quietly appearing on the market. The vivid trade of mooncakes in supermarkets, shopping centers and hotels is not of actual mooncakes but of 'mooncake coupons'. Our reporter saw that in Nanjing's central market the mooncake counter could sell more than 1000 boxes of mooncakes every day, with more than a half purchased by people with coupons.

People ridicule the luxurious mooncakes gift boxes by saying that "those who eat don't buy, those who buy do not eat". Our reporter visited several supermarkets and discovered that prices of mooncake gift boxes range from nearly 100 to over 1000 yuan. It seems that mooncakes have moved apart from the category of 'food' and became a tool to make human connections (guanxi).

From the ancient mid-autumn tradition until present days, it seems that what remains are mooncakes, sending mooncakes among relatives and friends, offering mooncakes to people of high positions and offering mooncakes to make guanxi. Experts of folk culture believe that Mid-Autumn Festival became 'Mooncake Festival' and even businessmen's instruments for making profit. This makes the Mid-Autumn Festival gradually drift away from the traditional cultural meanings of family reunion, popular sacrifices to the moon, celebrating the bumper harvest and more customs.

Mid Autumn Festival became 'mooncake festival', Spring Festival lost its 'annual flavor', National Day became a 'traveling festival' and Dragon Boat Festival became 'festival of pyramid-shaped dumplings'. As the material culture is flourishing, the ambience of traditional holidays is slowly being eroded.

Original article published by Xinhua News Agency

[1] 提货券 tí huò quàn - consumers' coupons

[2] 月饼券 yuèbǐng quàn - mooncake coupons

[3] 包装豪华 bāozhuāng háohuá - luxurious package

[4] 调侃 tiáokǎn - ridicule

[5] 盒装月饼 hézhuāng yuèbǐng - box-packed mooncakes

[6] 范畴 fànchóu - category

[7] 拉关系 lā guānxì - make and maintain interpersonal connections that serve one's personal interests

[8] 民俗 mín sú - folk customs

[9] 领导 lǐngdǎo - leaders, employers, people of high rank

[10] 商家牟利 shāngjiā móu lì - businessmen seeking profit

[11] "年味" nián wèi - flavor of the new year

[12] 粽子 zòng zi - pyramid-shaped dumplings wrapped in reed leaves

[13] 物质文明 wùzhì wénmíng - material culture

[14] 文化氛围 wénhuà fēnwéi - cultural ambience

[15] 侵蚀 qīnshí - errode

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