Saturday, September 17, 2005

Chinese Mid-Autumn Moon Festival

Here's our little Princess - couple years ago at her bday party. We were fortunate enough to adopt her from China when she was about 9 months old. Even before we invited her into our home and family, we began to invite the Chinese people, and their wonderful history and culture, into our home. Thus, we observe and celebrate the Chinese holidays as best a Caucasian family from North Carolina can do!

Today, we are observing the Mid-Autumn Moon Festival. We attended the Triad Area Families with Children from China meeting this evening(after attending the Asheville one for 8 years). We shared food, had crafts for all the children who were there, and then heard the story of the Moon Festival.

So for those of you interested - the story basically starts with a marriage in turmoil. An imperial guard with a magic bow and arrows, Hou Yi, married the beautiful daughter of the River God, a young woman named Chang E. Now these two were a pair - they both craved immortality. (Voldemort, anyone?) At this time in China, there were 10 suns. They would take turns giving light to the Earth - but one day, all 10 came out at once. The heat was unbearable, rivers drying up, people dying, etc. (global-warming, anyone?) So - Hou Yi was told to take his enchanted bow and shoot the extra 9 suns out. He was of course successful, and as a reward the Queen Mother of the Western Heavens gave him a pill for immortality - but told him he could only take it after 12 months of praying and fasting.

Hou Yi arrived home, hid the pill, and dealt with a ticked off and jealous wife. The next time he left to do an errand for the emperor, Chang E searched the hut, found the pill, and immediately popped it in her mouth. She started floating into the sky just as Hou Yi arrived home. Apparently, he could fly too - was pretty angry that she did what she did - and a chase throughout the heavens ensued.

Long and short of it - Chang E ended up at the moon and lives in a jade palace there. She eventually became the Moon Goddess. Hou Yi was able to become the Sun God at some point - they made up, and they visit once a month (when the moon is at its brightest). Tonight - Hou Yi and Chang E are having a visit, the moon is bright, and people are offering up prayers and thoughts to the beautiful Moon Goddess.

In China, they traditionally eat Moon Cakes on this day. We had some of those at FCC tonight - but being North Carolinians - we also celebrate with Moon Pies! (Moon Pies having originated in NC.) Nothing like cultural meshing!

Happy Moon Festival to all.

1 comment:

Edgy Mama said...

She's sooooo gorgeous. I love this story, Amy. Thanks.