World Of Feng Shui USA welcomes in the Moon Festival, also known as the Mid-Autumn Festival, the celebration that is associated with the full moon because it falls on the 15th day of the 8th month according to the Chinese lunar calendar, which at that time of the year, the moon is at its roundest. In 2014, the Moon Festival falls on September 8th.
The Mid-Autumn Festival is the second grandest festival, after the Spring Festival, in China. On this day, family members gather to appreciate the bright full moon, eat moon cakes at night, and spend time with their love ones.
Chinese legend has it that in ancient times, ten suns existed and the extreme heat made people’s lives very difficult. It was the hero Hou Yi who, owing to his great strength, shot down nine of the ten suns. On hearing of this amazing feat and the hero who performed it, people came from far reaches to learn from him. Peng Meng was among these people. Later, Hou Yi married a beautiful and kind woman named Chang E and lived a happy life.
One day, Hou Yi came upon the Queen of Heaven, Wangmu, on the way to meet a friend. Wangmu presented him with an elixir which, if drunk, would cause him to ascend immediately to heaven and become an immortal. However, instead of drinking the potion himself, Hou Yi took it home and presented it to his wife, Chang E, to keep. Unfortunately, Peng Meng secretly saw Hou Yi give the potion to his wife and wanted immortality for himself. While Hou Yi was out hunting, Peng Meng accosted Chang E and demanded that she hand over the elixir. Knowing that she could not win, she took out the elixir and swallowed it immediately. The moment she drank it, she flew out of the window and up into the sky. Chang E’s great love for her husband drew her towards the moon, which is the nearest heavenly body to the earth.
Upon discovering what happened to his wife, Hou Yi was so grief stricken that he shouted Chang E’ s name to the sky and was amazed to see a figure which looked just like his wife appeared in the moon. He took the food liked by Chang E to an altar and offered it as a sacrifice for her. Hou Yi’s neighbors also burned incense and prepared food to express their good wishes to the kind Chang E. This is an ancient legend explaining how the custom of Moon offerings came about.
Different customs have evolved in different areas regarding this traditional festival. The most significant customs are to appreciate and offer sacrifice to the round bright moon and eat moon cakes. Other activities like dragon dancing and doing obeisance to the moon are also considered highly important. Today, sacrifice has been replaced by a simple appreciation of the moon. Members of a family usually sit around a table eating and talking to their heart content and at the same time admiring the bright moon. While looking up the moon, people will think of their relatives afar and good wishes are expressed in their mind.
As with every Chinese holiday, the Mid-Autumn Festival has its own special food. People eat moon cakes for celebration. The moon cake is a kind of cookie with various fillings and on the surface are printed different artistic patterns depicting the story of Chang E flying to the moon. People treated this kind of food as one of the sacrificial offerings to the moon in the old days. Today, it has become an indispensable food while appreciating the bright moon for every family. Moon cakes come in various flavors which change according to the region but common fillings are nuts, sugar, sesame, ham and egg yolk.
As the moon cake is round in shape, it symbolizes the reunion of a family, so it is easy to understand how the eating of moon cakes under the round moon can inspire the missing of distant relatives. Nowadays, people present the moon cakes to relatives and friends to demonstrate that they wish them a long and happy life.
The World Of Feng Shui USA family wishes everyone near and far a wonderful Moon Festival and may there be much wealth, good health and happiness always.