Mid-Autumn Mooncake Festival is the third major festival of the Chinese calendar. This year it falls on tomorrow Thursday.
Legend describes that on the night of the full moon, a moon fairy living in a crystal palace comes out to dance on the moon’s shadowed surface. The legend surrounding the “lady living on the moon” dates back to ancient times, to a day when 10 suns appeared all at once in the sky. The emperor ordered a famous archer to shoot down the 9 extra suns. Once the task was accomplished, the Goddess of the Western Heaven rewarded the archer with a pill that would make him immortal. However, his wife found the pill and took it, and was banished to the moon as a punishment.
There are many more legends related to the Moon Festival but the most famous concerns its possible role in Chinese history. Overrun by the Mongols in the 13th century, the Chinese threw off the oppressors in 1368AD. It’s said 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.
Today, Chinese celebrate the Mid-Autumn festival with lanterns, feasting and of course moon cakes, observing the traditional spirit of abundance and togetherness.