|
|
|
ancient art
|
|
|
focus
characters
|
|
|
|
|
|
|
|
|
|
|
|
|
|
|
horoscope matching
|
|
|
Shopping
 
Festivals
Mid-Autumn
Lunar Date: 
15th moon day of eighth Chinese lunar month

The date of Chinese Mid-autumn Festival (a.k.a. Moon Festival) is on the 15th moon day of eighth Chinese lunar month.

This day was considered a harvest festival since fruits, vegetables and grain had been harvested by this time and food was abundant. With delinquent accounts settled prior to the festival , it was a time for relaxation and celebration. Food offerings were placed on an altar set up in the courtyard. Special foods for the festival included moon cakes, cooked taro, edible snails from the taro patches or rice paddies cooked with sweet basil, and water caltrope, a type of water chestnut resembling black buffalo horns. For generations, moon cakes have been made with sweet fillings of nuts, mashed red beans, lotus-seed paste or Chinese dates, cooked egg yolks, wrapped in a pastry. Of all these foods,t could not be omitted from the Mid-Autumn Festival.

To accentuate the brightness of the moon, people traditionally light up lanterns on the Mid-Autumn Festival. The color lanterns are made of bamboo slips and paper. They come in different shapes and sizes, with candles inside. The lanterns with flickering candlelight are a visual feast to everyone.

The Mid-Autumn Festival is a holiday in China. It's an occasion for family reunion. Families like to get together to eat the moon cakes and watch the moon at the Mid-Autumn Festival night.

Today,festivities centered about the Mid-Autumn Festival are more varied. After a family reunion dinner, many people like to go out to attend special perfomances in parks or on public squares. There are some legendary stories for the Moon Festival.

 

1) The Lady - Chang Er

In remote antiquity, there were ten suns rising in the sky, which scorched all crops and drove people into dire poverty. A hero named Hou Yi was much worried about this, he ascended to the top of the Kunlun Mountain and, directing his superhuman strength to full extent, drew his extraordinary bow and shot down the nine superfluous suns one after another. He also ordered the last sun to rise and set according to time. For this reason, he was respected and loved by the people and lots of people of ideals and integrity came to him to learn martial arts from him. A person named Peng Meng lurked in them.

Hou Yi had a beautiful and kindhearted wife named Chang Er. One day on his way to the Kunlun Mountain to call on friends, he ran upon the Empress of Heaven Wangmu who was passing by. Empress Wangmu presented to him a parcel of elixir, by taking which, it was said, one would ascend immediately to heaven and become a celestial being. Hou Yi, however, hated to part with his wife. So he gave the elixir to Chang Er to treasure for the time being. Chang Er hid the parcel in a treasure box at her dressing table when, unexpectedly, it was seen by Peng Meng.

One day when Hou Yi led his disciples to go hunting, Peng Meng, sword in hand, rushed into the inner chamber and forced Chang Er to hand over the elixir. Aware that she was unable to defeat Peng Meng, Chang Er made a prompt decision at that critical moment. She turned round to open her treasure box, took up the elixir and swallowed it in one gulp. As soon as she swallowed the elixir her body floated off the ground, dashed out of the window and flew towards heaven. Peng Meng escaped.

When Hou Yi returned home at dark, he knew from the maidservants what had happened. Overcome with grief, Hou Yi looked up into the night sky and called out the name of his beloved wife when, to his surprise, he found that the moon was especially clear and bight and on it there was a swaying shadow that was exactly like his wife. He tried his best to chase after the moon. But as he ran, the moon retreated; as he withdrew, the moon came back. He could not get to the moon at all.

Thinking of his wife day and night, Hou Yi then had an incense table arranged in the back garden that Chang Er loved. Putting on the table sweetmeats and fresh fruits Chang Er enjoyed most, Hou Yi held at a distance a memorial ceremony for Chang Er who was sentimentally attached to him in the palace of the moon.

When people heard of the story that Chang E had turned into a celestial being, they arranged the incense table in the moonlight one after another and prayed kindhearted Chang Er for good fortune and peace. From then on the custom of worshiping the moon spread among the people.

 

2) The Man - Wu Kang

Wu Kang was a shiftless fellow who changed apprenticeships all the time. One day he decided that he wanted to be an immortal. Wu Kang then went to live in the mountains where he importuned an immortal to teach him. First the immortal taught him about the herbs used to cure sickness, but after three days his characteristic restlessness returned and he asked the immortal to teach him something else. So the immortal to teach him chess, but after a short while Wu Kang's enthusiasm again waned. Then Wu Kang was given the books of immortality to study. Of course, Wu Kang became bored within a few days, and asked if they could travel to some new and exciting place. Angered with Wu Kang's impatience, the master banished Wu Kang to the Moon Palace telling him that he must cut down a huge cassia tree before he could return to earth. Though Wu Kang chopped day and night, the magical tree restored itself with each blow, and thus he is up there chopping still.

 

3) The Hare - Jade Rabbit

In this legend, three fairy sages transformed themselves into pitiful old men and begged for something to eat from a fox, a monkey and a rabbit. The fox and the monkey both had food to give to the old men, but the rabbit, empty-handed, offered his own flesh instead, jumping into a blazing fire to cook himself. The sages were so touched by the rabbit's sacrifice that they let him live in the Moon Palace where he became the "Jade Rabbit."

 

4) The Cake - Moon Cake

During the Yuan dynasty (A.D.1280-1368) China was ruled by the Mongolian people. Leaders from the preceding Sung dynasty (A.D.960-1280) were unhappy at submitting to foreign rule, and set how to coordinate the rebellion without it being discovered. The leaders of the rebellion, knowing that the Moon Festival was drawing near, ordered the making of special cakes. Backed into each moon cake was a message with the outline of the attack. On the night of the Moon Festival, the rebels successfully attacked and overthrew the government. What followed was the establishment of the Ming dynasty (A.D. 1368-1644). Today, moon cakes are eaten to commemorate this legend. top