“I am glad that you are with me on the full moon night. I want to whisper to you that Happy Mid-Autumn Day my dearest.”

2012_99_14

Unidentified Photographer, [Advertisement for mooncakes for Autumn Moon Festival featuring Apollo 11 astronauts, Hong Kong], September 1969 (2012.99.14)

A Chinese celebration dating back to the Zhou Dynasty (1046-256 BCE), the Mid-Autumn Festival is second only to the Spring Festival, which celebrates the beginning of the New Year. Essential to the Mid-Autumn festival is the mooncake, a small round cake, available in a variety of flavors and shaped to reflect the full harvest moon (closest full moon to the autumnal equinox) the festival lands on. Mooncakes are eaten to celebrate the beginning of the harvest, to extend the wishes of longevity and happiness to family and friends, or to extend a romantic gesture. Clever marketing on this Hong Kong billboard in 1969 shows lunar fairies sharing the mooncakes with the first astronauts to step on the moon: Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin, Jr. of the Apollo 11 space mission.

The 2013 Harvest Moon occurs in New York City on Thursday, September 19 at 7:12 am.

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