Celebrating the Chinese Mid-Autumn Festival MzansiBride

Winona Griggs

Celebrating the Chinese Mid-Autumn Festival

Ah, the Chinese Mid-Autumn Festival! Have you heard of it? It’s also known as the Full Moon Festival. It’s a wonderful time of year, happening in the late days of September or early October. This year, it was on September 30. When this special occasion comes along, my family and I gather together to celebrate.

Our celebration revolves around a hearty family dinner. It’s a chance for us to connect with one another and enjoy each other’s company. In the past, we used to have traditional meals, but now we like to have barbecues. It’s a delightful way to appreciate the full moon’s beauty while enjoying a fabulous meal together.

Now, let’s talk about moon cakes. Are you familiar with these heavenly treats? They are a central part of the festival, and I can’t get enough of them! Moon cakes are like little treasures. They come in various flavors, but my absolute favorite is made with a sweet lotus paste, a salted pickled duck egg yolk (which represents the full moon), and a light, flaky pastry.

These little treats symbolize so much more than just a tasty snack. They hold deep meanings of harmony, family reunion, and good fortune. When I take a bite of a moon cake, I feel a sense of joy and gratitude for the blessings in my life.

Last night, my cousin (Christine), my brother (Frank), and I had a wonderful time celebrating the Mid-Autumn Festival at our favorite Chinese restaurant, Heng Sheng. We indulged in delicious dumplings, glutinous rice cakes, won ton noodle soup, and finished off with a sweet moon cake.

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The Mid-Autumn Festival has a fascinating and romantic story behind it, with the moon playing a vital role. I found a captivating write-up on the legend:

Legend

Let me tell you the story of Chang E, which is the most well-known tale about the origin of the Mid-Autumn Festival. You see, a long time ago, there were ten suns, and life was incredibly challenging because of the scorching heat they emitted. Luckily, there was a brave hero named Hou Yi who single-handedly took down nine of those suns with his amazing strength. When word of this feat spread, people from all over came to learn from him.

One of those people was a man named Peng Meng. He, too, was captivated by Hou Yi’s incredible abilities. Eventually, Hou Yi married a kind and beautiful lady named Chang E, and they lived happily together.

One day, I came across Wangmu, the queen of heaven, while on my way to see an old friend. Wangmu gave me a special elixir that could make me become an immortal and ascend to heaven. Instead of drinking it myself, I decided to take it home and give it to my wife, Chang E, for safekeeping.

Unfortunately, Peng Meng, who had been secretly watching, saw me give the elixir to Chang E. Three days later, when I was out hunting, Peng Meng barged into our backyard and demanded that Chang E give him the elixir. Knowing that she couldn’t win against him, Chang E made a brave decision.

She quickly took out the elixir and swallowed it in one gulp. As soon as she drank it, something incredible happened. Chang E flew out of the window and soared up into the sky. Her deep love for me pulled her towards the Moon, which is the closest celestial body to our Earth.

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When I found out what happened to my wife, I was devastated. I called out Chang E’s name to the sky, hoping for some kind of response. To my astonishment, a figure that looked just like my wife appeared in the Moon. It was a bittersweet moment, seeing her again but knowing she was out of reach.

I decided to honor Chang E by preparing her favorite food and offering it as a sacrifice on an altar. I wanted to show her that I still cared and remembered her. My neighbors joined me in this act of remembrance, burning incense and preparing food to send their good wishes to Chang E. This tradition continued year after year, a way for us to connect with the kind and benevolent Chang E.

Last night, I hope you all had the chance to gaze at the Full Moon and appreciate its beauty, just like I did.

Disclaimer: The Moon Cake picture used in this post is sourced from here.

This blog post was originally published on Butterfingers.

This blog post was originally published on Butterfingers.

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