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Mood of Mid-Autumn Prevails
Tomorrow is the traditional Chinese Mid-Autumn Festival, which falls on the 15th day of the lunar calendarís eighth month.

The full moon, which is perfectly round, symbolizes harmony and unity. The festival is a time for family reunions.

The significance of the centuries-old tradition remains, even though many young people are becoming less interested in the festival.

China Daily staff reporters YU NAN, JIN BO, CHEN ZHIYONG and LIU JUN asked various people for their views about the festival.

Shi Shuyu, 54, Middle School Teacher in Beijing

The Mid-Autumn Festival ranks second -- inferior only to the Spring Festival.

All family members should return home that day, no matter how busy they are.

I always prepare a feast of great-tasting food.

My son and daughter used to bring a box of moon cakes or flowers when they returned home from their universities.

After my daughter left to study in the United States, I finally understood the old Chinese saying, "On festive occasions, more than ever, we think of our dear ones far away."

But we're fortunate as the Internet and telephones shorten that distance. We can hear from, and see, each other any time.

I think tomorrow our home phone will be busy, as I will chat about so many things with my daughter.

Wan Hesong, 30, Editor at China Radio International

We have a great plan for this year's Mid-Autumn Festival: We are going to drive a jeep to Bashang, a wonderful grassland about 500 kilometers north of Beijing.

The grassland borders North China's Hebei Province and the Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region.

We have heard many stories about, and seen numerous pictures of, autumn in Bashang, which is covered with a dense forest and pristine grassland.

After riding horses and playing at the lakes, we will sit under the full moon, drink wine, eat moon cake with fresh fruit and listen to our favorite music.

We might even study the brilliant stars and try to learn their names.

Sure, we will miss our family members who live outside Beijing. But we are going with good friends. There will be some interesting stories.

We will take several cameras with long lenses, and a digital video camera. I hope we will preserve our memories of the trip.

Hou Liang, 23, Editor at a Network Center Affiliated with the Chinese Academy of Sciences

For me, the Mid-Autumn Festival is a common day, and I don't know when the holiday will be held.

I have been away from my parents since childhood, and have gotten used to it.

When I was young, I liked celebrating festivals because family members would get together, and I could have new clothes to wear and delicious food to eat.

As I grow older, traditional Chinese holidays are less appealing to me. I have always worried about things like college entrance examinations, my career and girlfriends. Too many worries have drained my passion for holidays.

When I was a college freshman, one night my cousin asked me to his home for dinner. After enjoying the meal, I learnt it was the Mid-Autumn day.

Although the holiday carries little weight in my heart, I think the custom of eating moon cake should be kept to differentiate the day and add color to life.

As the holiday approaches, I am reflecting on my life. I believe I am old enough to accomplish something. My dad and mum and grandparents are ageing and deserve my support.

Also, I am thinking about marriage.

Su Xiujin, 22, Graduate of the Department of International Trade at the University of International Business and Economics

The Mid-Autumn day is special because everyone misses their homes. People at home feel the importance and warmth of their families, and people away from home think of their families.

The most impressive Mid-Autumn day for me was the one shortly after I started college. It was a rainy afternoon as I walked to class. I was depressed at the thought of spending the holiday alone.

Unexpectedly, some friends from my hometown invited me to a party. We ate and drank a lot. We were in high spirits. After that, we lay down in a meadow, enjoyed the moon and chatted.

It was my first Mid-Autumn day away from home. When at home, I didn't care much about the holiday, but dad and mum always remembered the day. They always bought moon cakes.

I was happy too, and ate the moon cakes. It was the only chance I could eat moon cakes.

I like the custom of eating moon cakes, even though it will make me feel homesick.

There should be no discussion about carrying on this custom. It is like the Chinese language -- deeply rooted in our minds -- which can never be explained.

Nowadays, most moon cakes do not taste very good; they are too sweet.

I believe most Chinese still eat moon cakes.

I also care about the moon on this special night, and take time to note whether it is round. An incomplete moon makes me sentimental and feel regret.

For students, spending the holiday with students from home will be better than anything else.

We can chat about home, reminisce, relax and not feel homesick.

This year, I am attending a new university as a postgraduate. I want to invite others from my town to a party.

Wang Jiuding, 45, Electrical Engineer in Beijing

The festival is more important for farmers; it is a festival to mark the harvest after hard work throughout the spring and summer.

Chinese farm families usually celebrate the end of the harvest with a big feast.

But in today's modern society, the Mid-Autumn Festival is not the day we harvest during the year. I usually get my bonus at the end of the year.

I don't like to go against Chinese traditions and waste a good chance for a family party.

Although the meaning of Mid-Autumn Festival has changed, it is a good chance for the family to gather.

My daughter is busy with her high school studies, and I will be happy to enjoy the round moon and delicious moon cakes with her.

Ji Lei, 27, Attorney in Beijing

I don't think all young people in large cities ignore the Mid-Autumn Festival.

I remember the first Mid-Autumn Festival I spent in Beijing when I was a freshman at the Beijing Business Institute.

I went out with classmates. We sang and danced to forget we were homesick. We also cried.

Only by leaving home can you understand the importance of family and the Mid-Autumn Festival.

I like eating moon cakes, especially with bean paste and yolk fillings.

Although I will diet, I think the festival will be an exception. Eating moon cakes on that day will help me feel like I am sharing something with my family. It will also be my way of sending best wishes to my parents and elder sister. They live in Qingdao, of East China's Shandong Province.

(China Daily September 20, 2002)

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