7 Important Mid Autumn Festival Gift Etiquette: Dos and Don’ts

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Blog / 7 Important Mid Autumn Festival Gift Etiquette : Dos & Don’ts

Discover the dos and don’ts of Mid Autumn Festival gift-giving with these important etiquette tips.

Gifting someone is an act that expresses our love and respect towards someone, but it can also be stressful – especially when there are unspoken rules of the recipient’s culture.

As someone who is living in a diverse country, it is crucial to understand gifting etiquette during special occasions in different cultures.

Since Mid Autumn is around the corner, have you ever wondered : “What is a proper way of gifting during the Mid Autumn festival?”

In Chinese culture, gift giving plays a huge role in building and maintaining relationships with others, especially during special occasions, like birthdays and festivals.

In this article, I’ll share the seven do’s and dont’s of Mid Autumn Festival gifting you should know, as well as some gift ideas and tips on how to choose the perfect Mid Autumn Festival Gifts.

Key Takeaways About Gift Etiquette :

  • Select gifts that have symbolic meanings and consider the recipient’s preferences and cultural background to ensure the gift is meaningful and appropriate.
  • Present gifts with both hands for respect, wrap them beautifully in festive colors, and give gifts in even numbers, as they are considered lucky in Chinese culture.
  • Avoid gifts with negative connotations such as sharp objects, clocks, watches, empty gift boxes, and items in white or black, and refrain from giving overly expensive gifts.

Understanding The Significance Mid Autumn Festival Gifts

What is the Mid Autumn Festival?

The Mid Autumn Festival (Mooncake Festival) is a traditional Chinese festival celebrated on the 15th day of the eighth lunar month. It is a time for family and friends to gather together and give thanks for the harvest. One of the key traditions of the Mid Autumn Festival is the exchange of gifts, particularly mooncakes.

What are mooncakes and why are they prioritized during the Mid Autumn Festival?

Mooncakes are round pastries filled with various sweet or savory fillings and are often given as gifts to show appreciation and respect to others. The act of giving and receiving mooncakes symbolizes unity and harmony, as the round shape represents completeness and reunion.

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Can we give any items other than mooncakes?

In addition to mooncakes, other traditional gifts for the Mid Autumn Festival include lanterns, pomelos, and tea. These gifts are chosen for their symbolic meanings, such as bringing good luck, prosperity, and happiness.

So what are the significance of Mid Autumn Festival gifts?

The significance of Mid Autumn Festival gifts goes beyond the physical items themselves. They serve as a way to

  • strengthen relationships
  • express gratitude
  • convey good wishes for the future.

Now let’s look at the do’s and dont’s while gifting for the Mooncake festival.


  1. Choose meaningful gifts

Select gifts that have symbolic meanings and are appropriate for the recipient. Consider their preferences, interests, and cultural background.

  1. Present gifts with both hands

When giving a gift, use both hands to show respect and sincerity.

  1. Include a personal note

Write a thoughtful message or card to accompany the gift, expressing your well wishes and appreciation.

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  1. Give gifts in even numbers

In Chinese culture, even numbers are considered lucky, so it is customary to give gifts in pairs or multiples of two.

  1. Respect dietary restrictions

If you are giving mooncakes as a gift, make sure to consider any dietary restrictions or preferences of the recipient.

  1. Wrap the gift beautifully

Take the time to wrap the gift nicely, using festive colors and materials to enhance the presentation.

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  1. Follow up with a thank you

After receiving a gift, it is polite to follow up with a thank you message or gesture to show your appreciation.


  1. Avoid giving sharp objects:

It is considered unlucky to give gifts that symbolize cutting or separation, such as knives or scissors.

  1. Don’t give clocks or watches

In Chinese culture, giving clocks or watches is associated with the phrase ‘giving a clock,’ which sounds similar to ‘attending a funeral.’ It is seen as a symbol of bad luck and is best avoided.

  1. Don’t give empty gift boxes

Empty gift boxes are seen as a symbol of emptiness or lack of sincerity. Make sure your gift is thoughtful and meaningful.

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  1. Don’t give gifts in odd numbers

Odd numbers are considered unlucky in Chinese culture, so it is best to avoid giving gifts in odd quantities.

  1. Avoid giving white or black items

White and black are colors associated with mourning and funerals in Chinese culture. It is best to choose gifts in vibrant colors instead.

  1. Avoid giving overly expensive gifts

While it is important to choose meaningful gifts, it is also important to consider the recipient’s comfort level and avoid giving gifts that may be perceived as extravagant or excessive.

  1. Don’t forget to consider cultural differences

If you are giving gifts to someone from a different cultural background, take the time to understand their customs and traditions to ensure your gift is appropriate and respectful.

Since you already understand the gifting etiquette of mid autumn festival, now let’s take a look at how to choose a perfect gift for the Mid Autumn/Mooncake Festival.

How to Choose the Perfect Mid Autumn Festival Gift?

  1. Consider the recipient’s preferences

Think about the recipient’s interests, hobbies, and preferences when choosing a gift. This will show that you have put thought into selecting something they will truly appreciate.

  1. Look for symbolic meanings

Choose gifts that have symbolic meanings associated with the Mid Autumn Festival, such as unity, harmony, and good luck. This could include items like mooncakes, lanterns, tea, or pomelos.

  1. Personalize the gift

Add a personal touch to the gift by customizing it or including a handwritten note. This will make the gift more special and show that you have taken the time to make it unique to the recipient.

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  1. Consider the cultural background

If you are giving a gift to someone from a different cultural background, it is important to consider their customs and traditions. Avoid giving gifts that may be inappropriate or offensive in their culture.

  1. Choose high-quality items

Select gifts that are of good quality and craftsmanship. This will reflect your sincerity and show that you value the recipient.

  1. Think about practicality

Consider whether the gift is practical and useful for the recipient. Practical gifts are often appreciated and will be enjoyed long after the festival.

  1. Trust your instincts

Ultimately, trust your instincts and choose a gift that feels right. Your thoughtfulness and sincerity will shine through in your selection.


In conclusion, the Mid Autumn Festival is a time for celebration, gratitude, and gift-giving. By following the dos and don’ts of Mid Autumn Festival gift etiquette, you can ensure that your gifts are thoughtful, respectful, and meaningful.

Remember to choose gifts with symbolic meanings, present them with both hands, and include a personal note to express your well wishes. Avoid giving items with negative connotations or cultural sensitivities, and always consider the preferences and customs of the recipient.

With these etiquette tips in mind, you can make the Mid Autumn Festival a memorable and joyous occasion for everyone involved.