Super Blood Moon and Mooncakes

Mid-Autumn Moon Festival

James Qian, Photojournalist

You may be asking yourself, what is a super blood moon and what are moon-cakes? Well, they are both related to the Mid-Autumn Festival, or so called Moon Festival, which is celebrated in the multiple Asian cultures.


On Sunday, September 27, 2015, a super blood moon had occurred. According to EarthSky, the event happened approximately at 7:51pm (PT) and lasted for about an hour. A super blood moon is a combination of a super moon and a full lunar eclipse. When a full moon is at its closest point from Earth (perigee) in its orbit, it is a super moon, and a full lunar eclipse happens when the moon is completely engulfed in the Earth’s shadow from the Sun (it is called a blood moon from the small amount of light coming from sunrises and sunsets on Earth that reflects onto the moon, making it appear red). The fact that the moon is full, at its perigee and completely in the Earth’s darkest shadow behind the Sun makes the event of the super blood moon so rare; the last time this occurred was in 1982, and the next time a super blood moon will be in 2033, calculated by NASA.


A traditional moon-cake filled with a sweet paste of lotus beans.
A traditional moon-cake filled with a sweet paste of lotus beans.

September 27th was also the Mid-Autumn Festival, which Chinese, Vietnamese, Korean and other Asian cultures celebrated with many moon-cakes. Moon-cakes are usually about the size of one’s palm and are filled with a sweet past of either lotus beans or red beans. These tasty treats were not the only part of the Moon Festival celebration; families came together in the evening and drove out into bodies of water in bright and colorful boats, ate their moon-cakes and released lanterns into the air (just like how it is in the movie Tangled), filling the night sky with spectacular lights. This year, families were able to share the night with a special sight of the moon. The significance of this event was to thank the Moon for the year of harvest.


Now you’re probably thinking: what does the Moon have anything to do with harvest? Many Asian cultures do not only use the universal 365 day calendar, but they also use the lunar calendar. The lunar calendar is based in the position of the moon (the super blood moon and Mid-Autumn Moon Festival being on the same day is no coincidence) and on the weather and farming. You might think that this is a bit crazy, but it is extremely accurate!


So what, you might have missed the Moon Festival; you have a chance to celebrate it every year. Though for the next super blood moon, you are just going to have to wait for the next time for it to come around in 18 years.