Rabbit on the Moon!

This subject was inspired by a few unrelated events that converged around the same time. First, I brought up the subject recently at the end of another post. Second, here in Seattle the Chinese community recently celebrated the Mid-Autumn Harvest Festival which includes the famous moon cakes. One of my friends is Indonesian-Chinese, so I got to enjoy a few of these the last weekend at his house. They’re popular in Japan as well,1 and are called geppei (月餅), which is just the Japanese pronunciation of the Chinese characters. They are not a native dish, but are frequently purchased around this time in China-town communities in Japan, in Yokohama for example.

It is also during this time of the year, that people take part in tsukimi (月見) or moon-viewing. In popular myth, a rabbit lives on the moon making mochi, and so the moon phases are either the rabbit making mochi (waxing phase) or eating it (waning phase). So, during the Harvest Moon, families or young couples go out and enjoy the view. Over time, the foods associated with Tsukimi have changed, though these days tsukimi dango is the food often enjoyed at this time.

So, whatever Moon Festivities you enjoy, hope you have a great Autumn!

1 My wife likes them plenty. I do too. :)

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6 Comments on “Rabbit on the Moon!”

  1. Stephen says:

    I thought McDonald’s Tsukimi Hamburger had taken over the most popular spot, but I suppose it depends on the demographics…

  2. johnl says:


    Here is the rabbit making mochi as seen in the moon’s image.


  3. johnl says:

    Sorry, didn’t get the image in there, it seems. Will try again later.

  4. Doug says:

    Stephen: My first encounter with a “tsukimi” burger was actually something in an American bar/grill that sold an “Australian” burger with a fried egg. Turned out to be really yummy, but besides that I never heard of them until I researched this post. ;)

    Johnl: Yeah, didn’t work, but please feel free to post a link if you find one or try again. :)

  5. maggie says:

    thanks, this was fun to read. it might interest you to know that my museum friends organized a mid-autumn festival at the Vietnam Museum of EThnology in Hanoi this year, that included a sampling of the Japanese festival, complete with treats and stories from Japanese.. I didn’t get to visit but heard about it

    anyway i like this festival

  6. Doug says:

    Maggie: I take it the Vietnamese observe mid-autumn festival similar to China, due to the latter’s influence? What’s it called in Vietnamese, just for reference?

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