China Focus: Cultural events held nationwide to celebrate Mid-Autumn Festival
Round-shaped white lanterns on top of 33 "moon boats" were lit in the iconic West Lake in Hangzhou, capital of Zhejiang Province in east China Saturday night.
The gathering was the highlight of a moon worship activity to celebrate one of the most important traditional festivals in China, the Mid-Autumn Festival, which fell on Saturday this year.
The festival is usually marked by family reunions, enjoying the sights of the full moon, and eating mooncakes.
Since ancient times, the Mid-Autumn Festival has had the custom of moon worship. Today, people still worship the moon during the festival to express good wishes for home and country and sincere hopes for a happy life.
A slew of cultural activities to celebrate the occasion also took place in other parts of China.
In southwest China's Chongqing Municipality, colorful "jade rabbit" lights and a gigantic moon-shaped light lit up the hilltop observation deck at Longmenhao old street.
In addition, the city's lovers of hanfu, the traditional clothing of the Han ethnic group, also gathered on the carefully decorated old street Saturday night to enjoy the festival.
With bright lights and air filled with the fragrance of osmanthus flowers across the street, residents dressing in hanfu, some with flower lanterns, strolled along. It complemented the vintage street with its many old buildings.
"The old street not only has gorgeous lights but also preserves the traditional architecture featuring Chinese blue bricks and tiles. You won't have the feeling of not fitting in walking here," said Deng Yuhua, a Chongqing resident.
This year's Mid-Autumn Festival also coincided with Teacher's Day in China. As Chinese people have the same traditional respect for teachers as they do for family, many have decided to celebrate bigger than usual.
Guo Jiguang, 60, is from east China's Fujian Province, and he used to be a teacher. He is also a practitioner of the "Fumao Cake" craft, a form of intangible cultural heritage from Fujian.
To celebrate the dual festival, Guo designed a special mooncake with four Chinese characters, meaning "Remembering your teachers," sculpted on the surface.
He has made about 60,000 such mooncakes and decided to give them away to local teachers as gifts. "Parents give us life, friends give us support, and teachers give us knowledge and guidance. They are the most important people in our lives. That is my belief," Guo said.
Over the past decade, more than 4,500 teachers across the country have been awarded at the national level for their professionalism and dedication to education.
"The two festivals meeting is a rare and precious occasion. It feels beautiful to see various traditional Chinese values celebrated harmoniously under the full moon," said Wan Jianzhong, a professor at the School of Chinese Language and Literature of Beijing Normal University.