The Moon festival
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Moon cakes are eaten throughout the year in some Chinese cities during the Festivities
Called the Moon cake or Mid-Autumn festival falls on August / September each year. The precise time is announced yearly by Chinese Geomancy experts and varies each year.
What is the Moon festival? Every year on the fifteenth day of the eighth month of the lunar calendar, when the moon is at its maximum brightness for the entire year, the Chinese celebrate “zhong qiu jie.”
Children are told the story of the moon fairy living in a crystal palace, who comes out to dance on the moon”s shadowed surface.
The legend surrounding the “lady living in the moon” dates back to historic times, to a day when ten suns appeared at once in the sky.
The Emperor ordered a famous archer to shoot down the nine extra suns. Once the task was accomplished, the Goddess of Western Heaven rewarded the archer with a pill that would make him immortal.
However, his wife found the pill, took it, and was banished to the moon as a result. Legend says that her beauty is greatest on the day of the Moon festival.
Other Moon Festival Legends
Tales and Fables in historic China
According to this legend, there was a “Man in the Moon” and was seen at on earth carrying a writing tablet.
When questioned, he said he was recording the names of all the happy couples who were fated to marry and live happily forever after.
As a result today, just as June is the traditional month for exchanging nuptials in the west, many Chinese weddings are held during the eighth lunar month, with the fifteenth day being the most popular.
Of course, the most famous legend surrounding the Moon festival coincides with the most important event in Chinese history: The MONGOLS INVASION
Overrun by the Mongols in the thirteenth century, the Chinese threw off their oppressors in 1368 AD.
It also is believed that moon cakes – which the Mongols did not eat – were the perfect vehicle for hiding and passing along plans for the rebellion. Families were instructed not to eat the moon cakes until the day of the moon festival, which is when the rebellion took place. (In another version plans were passed along in moon cakes over several years of Mid-Autumn festivals, but the basic idea is the same).
The moon festival is a special way to celebrate the Mid-Autumn harvest moon.