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Paying Tribute to the Moon at Mid-autumn Festival

In Chinese lunar calendar, mid-autumn falls on the eighteenth day of the eighth month of a year, a day celebrated as the Mid-autumn Festival.

The Mid-autumn Festival is a particularly joyous occasion in the Guangfu area. Teahouses would begin offering moon-cakes a month ahead of the festival. The buildings would be festooned with lanterns bearing inscriptions of poetic names of all sorts of moon-cakes. Some lanterns would feature motifs from traditional stories, such as Emperor of Tang Tours the Moon Palace, The Eight Immortals Crossing the Sea, Uproar in Heaven, Diaochan Paying Tribute to the Moon, and Wu Gang on Expedition to Gui. The entire town would be in a festival mood.

Most events at the Mid-autumn Festival revolve around the "moon", with the most important one being "paying tribute to the moon". On this particular day, all households would pay tribute to the moon. The ceremony is often held in an open space facing the moon, such as the rooftop or the doorway, with tributes piled up on a large table. The sacrificial ceremony is typically officiated by a woman, and the entire family would burn incenses and bow the moon while praying for blessings. Children would often sing or play games around the table as well.

In addition to moon-cakes, typical tributes also include grapefruits, persimmons, bananas, carambolas, gooseberries, and taros. The tributes are consumed by the family after the sacrificial ceremony, and people often stay up late into the night having chitchats.

Before the 1940s, the statue of Lady Taiyin was often paraded around the town. Before the parade began, the statue would be placed inside an ornate pavilion in front of an incense burner. Sometimes, "paper shadow shows" were staged to entertain the gods.

Revelers would remain in a festival moon after the Mid-autumn Festival, and therefore they would stage celebrations again on the sixteenth day of the eight month in the lunar calendar, a custom known as "Chasing the Moon". This particular custom is popular in many towns in Guangzhou and the Pearl River Delta region. On the night of this particular day, relatives and friends would gather in a beautiful spot to gaze at the moon. Some merchants even organize tea parties to entertain customers.

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