The Mid-Autumn Festival, or Moon Festival, falls on Sept. 10 this year. A common tradition is to read riddles hung from lanterns while under the moonlight. The holiday usually corresponds to the harvest moon, the full moon before the Autumn Equinox. 


A span of seven years
Between the small and large;
A hairy burst of tears
When youth wish they’re in charge.


A family with four children
Who play the highest parts.
An arrowless bow can fill them
With joy in stringy arts.


Empress Wu Zetian
Burned us down to ashes,
Yet still each year we’ve been
Staunch in color splashes.


The windows that can bring
The world to you, and though
They make no noise nor sing
They need your ears below.


A car, a house, or wall
I’ll change, yet leave it there.
Like rain I’ll wetly fall
Where surfaces are bare.


A less than half-baked moon
reflects my fluffy shape.
A buttery cocoon
You don’t want to escape.


They say I cry,
Yet I make no sound.
And though alive,
Can’t move around.



I travel the world
But stay in a corner.
I’m dead if I’m curled;
My life is mail-ordered.


Push me aside to brighten surroundings,
Pull me right back to shut out the dark.
Now you’re protected from anyone’s houndings,
Cozy inside you feel free as a lark.


When you sit down I stand
And walk across the land.
When you lie down to sleep
My standing stance I keep.

Compiled and edited by Evan Mantyk





Answer: I. Adolescence / teenage years II. violin III. peonies IV. glasses V. paint VI. croissant VII. weeping willow VIII. postage stamp IX. curtains X. a horse

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10 Responses

  1. Roy E. Peterson

    I believe I have guessed seven of them. If not, they are still close answers. Each riddle verse is so neatly done! Thank you for the challenge.

  2. Joseph S. Salemi

    I. Adolescence (the years between 14 and 21)

    II. A violin

    IV. A pair of headphones

    VI. A French croissant

    Those are all I can figure out.

  3. Joshua C. Frank

    Adolescence, a string quartet, trees, unknown, paint, a croissant, a weeping willow, a stamp, unknown, unknown.

  4. Stuti

    IV – Spectacles
    VI – Croissant
    VII – Weeping Willow
    VIII – Stamp
    IX – Curtains (?)

  5. Mia

    I am still trying to work out the last one but now think it might be a camel or a horse.

  6. Evan Mantyk

    Well done! Between all of those who commented you have guessed every single riddle correctly. The only exception is, as expected, III which relates to a specific story of the tyrannical Tang Dynasty Empress Wu Zetian demanding all flowers in her garden blossom. The peonies refused, so she burned them down but they kept coming back every spring. The peony is a cherished symbol of righteous determination in traditional Chinese culture.

    All of the answers are now above in tiny font.

  7. Talbot

    These were very fun, and happy Mid-Autumn Festival to all! Time for some mooncakes, myself . . .


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