This year, we will be celebrating Mid-Autumn Festival on the 19th of September. This celebration is widely observed by people of Chinese decent, usually residing in countries such as China, Hong Kong, Vietnam, Singapore and Malaysia.
The story behind this festival varies as it is based on a traditional folklore but the one that I remember most is as follows:
Legend has it, thousands of years ago, a beautiful lady named Chang’e and her husband Houyi, a master at archery, lived in heaven. One day, the Jade Emperor, who was the King of Heaven, asked Houyi for help because the emperor’s ten sons had transformed into ten suns. The suns were high in the sky causing the land to be extremely hot until it was impossible for vegetation to grow.
Houyi, using his archery skills, shot down nine suns except one, making earth an ideal environment to support life forms. The Jade Emperor was upset that Houyi killed his 9 sons and as punishment, he sent Houyi and Chang’e to Earth.
Chang’e and Houyi became extremely home sick and wanted to go back to the heavens so Houyi went to look for help. Finally, he found the Queen Mother who agreed to give him the pill of immortality to float back to heaven, but warned him to only use half for himself and the other for Chang’e.
As soon as Houyi returned home with the pill, Chang’e was so excited that she took the whole pill and swallowed it before Houyi could stop her and she began to float into the air, climbing higher and higher beyond the clouds and far into the sky. She eventually came to rest on the moon.
Chang’e was deeply saddened and lonely without her husband but she wasn’t alone on the moon. A jade rabbit already lived there! Chang’e and the rabbit became good friends.
Every mid-autumn festival, the full moon will appear and many will take this opportunity to remember the ‘moon lady’ by making and eating moon cakes and pomelo. It is a great night time event where lots of children will go outdoors with their lanterns to look up into the sky and think of all their loved ones who live far way knowing too well that they too will probably be doing the exact same thing!
This mid-autumn festival, my family and I made snowy moon cakes and lanterns. For pictures, check out my photo album on http://www.facebook.com/queeniefoongkwintan