September 24, 2018

Sep 24 Happy Mid-Autumn Festival 2018

Happy Mid-Autumn Festival everyone! :) 해피 추석 데이!
I hope everyone is doing well. :D

As Koreans share the same root with Chinese, they celebrate on this date too! In fact, they call it "Thanksgiving Day" which is the second largest national festive celebrated after Lunar New Year. 

I never really know the legends or stories behind Mid-Autumn Moon Festival until recently I researched on it.

Some short stories time, maybe?

If you're interested, read on :))

The Legend of Moon Goddess Chang'e

Particularly this legend is known as the origin of the Mid-Autumn Moon Festival.

Once there were ten suns in the sky and it was scorching hot on the earth, giving hardship for the people. A great archer Yi saw that people were suffering and had mercy. He shot down nine out of ten suns, leaving one as it is now. In reward, he was given the elixir of immortality by the gods. He has a beauty wife named Chang'e and he didn't want to leave his wife behind. Hence, he did not consume the elixir straight away, but instead asked his wife to hide it at home.

Meanwhile, this was made known to his apprentice Fengmeng whom has developed evil thoughts after knowing about it. While Yi went out hunting, Fengmeng broke into his house and tried to force Chang'e to give him the elixir. Chang'e knew she couldn't outbeat him and in afraid that the elixir will be misused, she drank it herself. Soon as she consumed the elixir, her body became so light and she flew upwards towards the heavens, choosing the moon as residence. After discovered what had happened, broken-hearted Yi laid out the fruits and cakes that Chang'e had liked in their house yard, in memory of his beloved wife.

The Legend of Jade Rabbit

Once upon a time, the great Jade Emperor disguised himself into a poor, starving old man and begged for food from four animals: monkey, otter, jackal, and rabbit. Monkey gathered fruit from the trees, and otter gathered fish from the river. Jackal stole a lizard and a pot of milk curds. Rabbit though, could only gather grass. Knowing well enough that grass can’t be offered as food to humans, rabbit decided to offer its own body, sacrificing itself by jumping into the fire the man had started. Surprisingly the rabbit wasn’t burned and the old man revealed himself to be the great Jade Emperor! Deeply touched by the rabbit's selfless sacrifice, he grant it immortality and sent it to the moon.

Ever since, the Jade Rabbit is often portrayed as the companion of Moon Goddess Chang'e and it is constantly pounding the elixir of life for her.

The Story of Mooncakes

Do you know that mooncakes were actually a tool for sending coded messages?

During the later days of Yuan dynasty, people wanted to overthrow the Mongolian rulers of China and mooncakes were made to smuggle secret messages. The messages were either hid inside the mooncakes, or printed on the surfaces of mooncakes. To decode, the mooncakes were cut into four parts and they would required to reassemble to get the hidden message.

The tradition was able to bring down to this generation although alternation was made. Normally the words printed on the mooncakes are words of blessings and of fortune. Absolutely a great gift to send to one another.

Whatever you might call, one thing for sure - there is every reason to be happy and joyful today as we family will gather around and have dinner and spend time together. For some companies, the management even allow their employees to leave from work early for them to go home and prepare for the reunion dinner (hopefully mine will do so too this year :p).

For some, it looks like nothing special about it as you normally eat with your family literally everyday; but it's the different story for those who are staying far from their parents (immediate family). We call them "游子 (the wanderers)" in Chinese.

Here I would like to take this opportunity, in hoping that everyone will see the importance of family and take heart that our time is ticking. Neither our parents are getting younger day by day. Not sure for you, but family do matter for me.

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