Wednesday, September 10, 2008

中秋節 Lantern Festival

In Malaysia, we called it the Lantern Festival, it is the Mid-Autumn Festival, the third and last festival for the living of a year. Because it falls on the fifteenth day of the eighth lunar month, many referred to it simply as the "Fifteenth of the Eighth Moon". In the Western calender, the day usually occurs sometime between the second week of September til the second week of October. This year, it falls on the 14th of September. However, it differs according to time zone. So, check your date here, don't eat moon cake on the wrong day, jk

China Time Zone US PST Time Zone US EST Time Zone

September 14, 2008
October 3, 2009
September 22, 2010
September 12, 2011
September 30, 2012

September 13, 2008
October 2, 2009
September 22, 2010
September 12, 2011
September 29, 2012

September 13, 2008
October 2, 2009
September 22, 2010
September 12, 2011
September 29, 2012

At this time, the moon's orbit is at its lowest angle to the horizon, making the moon appear brighter and larger than any other time of the year. It is nice and romantic to view the full moon with your loved ones on that night, holding lanterns in your hands=)

Okie, let's embark a bit into the history of this unique festival.

I. The Lady - Chang Er

The time 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.

II. 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 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.

III. 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."

IV. 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 Ming dynasty (A.D. 1368-1644). Today, moon cakes are eaten to commemorate this legend.


Mei-Wah said...

wah, all i know about the mooncake festival is:
1. it's on "8 yuet 15"
2. we eat mooncake
3. we drink tea while eat mooncake
4. we play with lantern
5. we play with 'lilin'
6. we got fat cos mooncakes has high calories. lol.


hana said...

oh good u post the US time for mooncake festival yay now I know when it is =DDD

hope they sell mooncakes here lol must start stalking shops in Chinatown haha.

I love mochi mooncake!

Borneo Falcon said...

I really don't have much background regarding the latern festival and story behind it. This post somehow enlighten me

Kumpulan Terbuang said...

wew.. in my city, there is lantern festival you know, I will post it..

Bridge Schmidt said...

Meimei, thanks for educating me about your lunar calendar. I just went to an old chinese friend of mine in California ~ the rich, Mrs. Young, and she gave me a Mooncake with a salt egg inside it. I think that it tastes really good.

LZ said...

I'm most interested in the mooncake, but I dont have one here.. :'(

would u send it to me? ;)

eunice said...

wahhhh Meimei! Your post on Mid-Autumn is so comprehensive! I also have two posts on that!

Hope you are coping well with your studies. Miss your visits. See you again dear! :D

Barbie said...

Informative post, Princess! I don't know much about mooncake festival :P

Hey, this remind me of the whole box of mooncake I had finished 2 days before the festival took place lol...Aww! I gotta say this, yeah, I gotta say this, it was so YUMMY! Love it soooo much, and esp, the one with mixed cereals in it :P I like Almond the most ^ ^ Yum!

BTW, miss you so much :( Feeling like we've lost touch ady :( How have you been Mei Mei? You still rmb Barbie? =( I know u're busy schoolings, and so am I :( but watever, take care of yourself, and always know that Barbie never forget my dear Princess! *hug*