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Chinese (and Japanese) Moon Festival
Sat Sep 29, 2012 10:29 amFood.com Groupie
The Chinese Moon Festival is on the 15th of the 8th lunar month. It's also known as the Mid-autumn Festival. While the moon festival is celebrated throughout Asia, its origin is in China. Chinese culture is deeply imbedded in traditional festivals. Just like Christmas and Thanksgiving in the West, the Moon Festival is one of the most important traditional events for the Chinese and an occasion for family reunions.
The Moon Festival is full of legendary stories.
Houyi (or Yi) was the hero who shot the suns in the ancient mythology of China. Legend says that Yi was very good at archery. There were once ten suns in the sky, which made plants wither and fierce beasts ran wild. It was too hot to live under the suns, so to save the people Yi started shooting the suns. He shot down nine suns one-by-one. He might have shot the last one if he hadn’t been restrained by other people. But now, severe droughts were gone, and he got rid of dangerous animals that threatened the lives of people.
It is said that Yi’s wife was Chang’e, the beautiful lady in the story, “Chang-e Flying to the Moon”. Chang-e swallowed the elixir stolen from her husband, and she flew to the moon. She became goddess of the moon and has lived in a palace with a jade rabbit on the moon ever since.
Yi couldn’t join his wife. It is said that he was killed by Feng Meng, a disciple of Yi’s who learned archery from him. Maybe Feng Meng was jealous of his talent as an archerer?
Now, you might see Chang-e dancing on the moon during the Moon Festival. Looking carefully, you might also see her jade rabbit pounding medicinal powder to mix with liquid to cure all ills (the elixir).
When the full moon rises, families get together to watch the full moon, eat moon cakes, and sing moon poems. With the full moon, the mythological story, the family and the poems, you can't help thinking that this is really a perfect world. That is why the Chinese are so fond of the Moon Festival.
The Moon Festival is also a romantic one. A perfect night for the festival is a quiet night without a cloud and with a mild breeze from the sea. Sweethearts spend a romantic evening together tasting delicious moon cakes with some wine while watching the full moon. Even for a couple who can't be together, they can still enjoy the night by watching the moon at the same time so it seems that they are together at that hour. A large number of poetry has been devoted to this romantic festival.
A moon cake is the traditional sweet for the Moon Festival, usually round like the shape of the moon. and filled with sweet bean or potato paste or pineapple (Taiwan). The Chinese eat the delicious moon cakes and drink rice wine outside after their dinner while watching the full moon.
In Japan, Otsukimi, literally moon-viewing, refers to Japanese festivals honoring the autumn moon. The festival was introduced into Japan from China over a thousand years ago. The Japanese enjoy dango, a dumpling made from pulverized rice called mochi, and sweetened. They eat the dango and drink sake while gazing at the moon. It is said that if you look carefully, you can see a rabbit in the moon making mochi.
Sat Sep 29, 2012 11:26 amFood.com Groupie
Thanks Stella Mae. It's so nice to know about holidays beyond the USA.
Fri May 17, 2013 8:54 amNewbie "Fry Cook" Poster
Here are really nice and most informative article is written by you. I am totally agree with you and wants to appreciate you that you share this post here with us. I love chines food.
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