Happy Mid Autumn Festival 2012



The Mid Autumn Festival, also known as the Mooncake Festival or Lantern Festival, is a popular lunar harvest festival celebrated by Chinese people. The festival is held on the 15th day of the eighth month in the Chinese calendar, which is in September or early October in the Gregorian calendar, Mid Autumn Festival in Malaysia closely associate with mooncake, lantern, burning incense as thanksgiving.


For thousands of years, the Chinese people have related the vicissitudes of life to changes of the moon as it waxes and wanes; joy and sorrow, parting and reunion. Because the full moon is round and symbolizes reunion, the Mid-Autumn Festival is also known as the festival of reunion. All family members try to get together on this special day. Those who can not return home watch the bright moonlight and feel deep longing for their loved ones.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 performances in parks or on public squares.

Story behind the Moon Cake 

This historical festival celebration marks the successful rebellion against the Mongol ruler dated back in 14th century China. Back during the Soong dynasty when the Chinese were oppressed by the Mongols, their rebel leaders sought to overthrow the Mongol overlords. As meetings were banned it was impossible to make plans. Liu Fu Tong of the Anhui Province came up with a plan by requesting permission to distribute cakes to his friends to bless the longevity of the Mongol emperor.

He made thousands of cakes shaped like the moon and stuffed with sweet fillings. Inside each cake however was placed a piece of paper with the message: ‘Rise against the Tartars on the 15th day of the 8th Moon’. Reading the message, the people rose against the Mongols on a local scale. This rebellion enabled Chu Hung Wu, another rebel leader to eventually overthrow the Mongols. In 1368, he established the Ming dynasty and ruled under the name of Emperor Tai Tsu. Henceforth, the Mid Autumn Festival was celebrated with moon cakes on a national level.

Other Legend

There are many beautiful legends about the moon in China. the most popular one tells how a goddess named Chang'e ascended to the moon. 

Celebration of the Mid-Autumn Festival is strongly associated with the legend of Houyi, his student Feng Meng, and Chang'e, the Moon Goddess of Immortality. Tradition places these two figures from Chinese mythology at around 2200 BCE, during the reign of the legendary Emperor Yao, shortly after that of Huangdi. Unlike many lunar deities in other cultures who personify the moon, Chang'e simply lives on the moon but is not the moon herself.

There are many variants and adaptations of the legend of Chang'e that frequently contradict each other. However, most versions of the legend involve some variation of the following elements: Houyi, the Archer, an emperor, either benevolent or malevolent, and an elixir of life.

One version of the legend states that Houyi was an immortal and Chang'e was a beautiful young girl, working in the palace of the Jade Emperor as an attendant to the Queen Mother of the West (the Jade Emperor's wife). Houyi aroused the jealousy of the other immortals, who then slandered him before the Jade Emperor. Houyi and his wife, Chang'e, were subsequently banished from heaven. They were forced to live on Earth. Houyi had to hunt to survive and became a skilled and famous archer.

At that time, there were ten suns, in the form of three-legged birds, residing in a mulberry tree in the eastern sea. Each day one of the sun birds would have to travel around the world on a carriage, driven by Xihe, the 'mother' of the suns. One day, all ten of the suns circled together, causing the Earth to burn. Emperor Yao, the Emperor of China, commanded Houyi to use his archery skill to shoot down all but one of the suns. Upon completion of his task, the Emperor rewarded Houyi with a pill that granted eternal life. Emperor Yao advised Houyi not to swallow the pill immediately but instead to prepare himself by praying and fasting for a year before taking it. Houyi took the pill home and hid it under a rafter. One day, Houyi was summoned away again by Emperor Yao. During her husband's absence, Chang'e, noticed a white beam of light beckoning from the rafters, and discovered the pill. Chang'e swallowed it and immediately found that she could fly. Houyi returned home, realizing what had happened he began to reprimand his wife. Chang'e escaped by flying out the window into the sky.

Houyi pursued her halfway across the heavens but was forced to return to Earth because of strong winds. Chang'e reached the moon, where she coughed up part of the pill. Chang'e commanded the hare that lived on the moon to make another pill. Chang'e would then be able to return to Earth and her husband.

The legend states that the hare is still pounding herbs, trying to make the pill. Houyi built himself a palace in the sun, representing "Yang" (the male principle), in contrast to Chang'e's home on the moon which represents "Yin" (the female principle). Once a year, on the night of the Mid-Autumn Festival, Houyi visits his wife. That is the reason why the moon is very full and beautiful on that night.

Another legend explained the role of the Old Man on the Moon, the Divine Match-maker. The Chinese believed that marriages were made in Heaven but prepared on the moon. The Old Man on the Moon tied the feet of young men and women with red cords for marriage. Thus a maiden made offerings and prayed to him during the Mid-Autumn Festival, hoping that some day she would ride in the red bridal sedan chair.

The Mid-Autumn Festival is held on the 15th day of the eighth month in the Chinese calendar, which is in September or early October in the Gregorian calendar. This year, the Mid-Autumn Festival fall on September 30th which is yesterday. It will occur on these days in coming years

2013: September 19
2014: September 8
2015: September 27
2016: September 15
2017: October 4
2018: September 24
2019: September 13
2020: October 1

Source: variety 

Bernard Tzing

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