Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Moon Cake Fair at Takashimaya - Part 3

On the 15th day of the eight chinese lunar month, children would carry lanterns and parade down the street to celebrate the occasion.

Traditionally, the lanterns would be lighted by candles but nowadays some of the lanterns comes in plastic with electric light bulbs for safety reasons so that young children would not get hurt by the burning candles.

As a child, I would loved to carry the lantern with the lighted candle inside and swing them left and right and the result was a buring lantern and I would cry when I saw my lantern goes in flame...lol

Other Legends of the moon cake festival or mid autumn festival

Hou Yi and Chang-EAn archer, Hou Yi, saved the earth from scorching when he shot nine suns that originally circled the earth. As a reward, Hou Yi obtained the Elixir of life but he became so tyrannical that his wife, Chang-E, stole the Elixir and drank it. Chang-E found herself ascending to the moon and thereafter was escalated to status of Moon Goddess. Hou Yi in turn was given a cake by the Queen Mother of the Western Paradise (Xi Wangmu). He could withstand heat upon eating the cake and was sent to remain in the sun. With a special talisman he was able to visit his wife Chang-E on the 15th of every month. Thus the moon's brightness on this day. This legend is believed to have been started during the Tang Dynasty (618 - 907 AD) although some believe it may have started earlier, tracing it to the rule of Emperor Yuan (2346 BC).


Rabbit in the moon

Buddha had disguised himself as a hungry, old man and approached three animals; a fox, a monkey and a rabbit, for help. The fox caught a fish for him, the monkey brought some fruits but the rabbit offered its own body as meat by throwing itself into the fire. In gratitude, Buddha resurrected the rabbit and sent it to the moon to be venerated.

Overthrow of the Mongols

Mooncakes played a major role in liberating Yuan China (1206 - 1341 AD) from the oppressive Mongols in the 14th century. Despite a prohibition against large gatherings, Zhu Yuan Zhang was able to instigate a rebellion by placing secret messages in mooncakes. The rebellion took place during the Mid-Autumn Festival and henceforth the celebration of the festival and the eating of mooncakes took on a different meaning.

(Source: http://infopedia.nl.sg/articles/SIP_804_2005-01-13.html)

5 comments:

The Trustees said...

Great that they put secret messages in the cakes! We should have a mooncake festival next year on campus.

the donG said...

now i can see how big this celebration is.

d. chedwick said...

I had to laugh at you burning your lantern as a kid, I was the same way.

alicesg said...

Hahaha...you should watch how my sons played with their lanterns when they were young, their lanterns were by their sides and they would placed all the candles in a neat row on the ground and lighted them. They are more interested in the candles than the lanterns...lol

Lara said...

great stories! and wonderful pictures, too!