Saturday, October 3, 2009


The luminous full moon shines at night when all Chinese around the globe celebrate their traditional Mid-Autumn Day. (Xinhua Photo)

Legendary stories about the Moon Festival:

The Lady - Chang Er

The date of this story is around 2170 B.C. The earth once had ten suns circling over it, each took its turn to illuminate to the earth. But one day all ten suns appeared together, scorching the earth with their heat. The earth was saved by a strong and tyrannical archer Hou Yi. He succeeded in shooting down nine of the suns. One day, Hou Yi stole the elixir of life from a goddess. However his beautiful wife Chang Er drank the elixir of life in order to save the people from her husband's tyrannical rule. After drinking it, she found herself floating and flew to the moon. Hou Yi loved his divinely beautiful wife so much, he didn't shoot down the moon.

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.

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."

The Cake - MoonCake

During the Yuan dynasty (1280-1368 A.D.) 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 mooncake 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 (1368-1644 A.D.). Today, mooncakes are eaten to commemorate this legend.



Gillian said...

Ah full moon lore.
Full moons do my head in! I don't sleep well, I feel out of sorts...and I usually can't wait for them to end. But they are beautiful. xo

Anonymous said...

We have purchased our Mooncakes already :).

Samosas for One said...

How have you been friend?

Jeanne said...

I love your postings

Hajar said...

Happy Mooncake @ Lantern @ Mid-autumn festival to you and your loved ones dearest Yoli! ^^

A Cuban In London said...

I read this post last night, went to bed and then suddenly I remembered htat I had forgot to comment. Silly me!

So, let's try to re-capture the same emotion I had when I read this fantastic column.

I was listening to Nina Simone's 'I Put a Spell On You' as I read abou tthis Chinese celebration and could not stop thinking about synchronicity and how your blog has brought this mental phenomenon to my life more and more since I started visiting you.

An extraordinary post. Really beautiful. And with a full moon outside.

Greetings from London.

Teresa said...

Lovely writing! You're a good storyteller.

Thank you for the nice comments on my blog. It's nice to meet you!

A Fitness Minute with Pat Anderson said...

Nice post! This Friday, October 9th, NASA will crash a spacecraft into a crater on the Moon in the hopes of finding water. Should be exciting.

Junius said...

my gawd our blogs look SO similar! one photo and then some scribbling even the palette colours look the same! for one second i thought i came to my own blog :)
you must be my missing twin hehe

Quackster said...

Thanks for sharing a cultural history lesson, especially about moon cakes. I found that interesting.