Today, the 15th day of the 8th lunar month is the Mid-Autumn Festival also known as Mooncake Festival or Lantern Festival.
I'd like to wish everyone who are celebrating this festival, a Happy Mid-Autumn!
Many of us are familiar with the lanterns and mooncakes during this festival. Last year, I wrote about pomelo fruits, water caltrops, lotus seeds and mooncakes:
- Mid-Autumn Festival 2010 - Pomelo Fruits (link here)
- Mid-Autumn Festival 2010 - Water Caltrops, also The Old Man of the Moon (link here)
- Mid-Autumn Festival 2010 - Lotus Seeds and Mooncakes (link here)
In my 2009 blog post, I have wrote about the the origin of mooncakes and the legend of the Moon Fairy, Lady Chang'e (the link is here). Do you know that she has a companion, the Jade Rabbit?
“Mid-Autumn Festival 2011 and The Hare / Jade Rabbit”, a copyrighted post, was written for My Nice Garden blog by Autumn Belle @ http://www.mynicegarden.com/ on Sept 12th, 2011.
|"The brilliant light of the moon shines upon the earth."|
The Mid-Autumn Festival began more than 2,000 years ago in China with prayers to the gods and sacrifices to the moon. It coincided with harvesting season of autumn when people held post-harvests feasts.
During this festival, we waited for the moon to appear before we start the prayers. Usually it would be after 10pm or so. On a clear night, we would gaze up at the moon and look for markings that appeared like the Jade Rabbit, also known as Moon Rabbit who is always pounding with a mortar and pestle making the elixir of immortality. Jade Rabbit lives on the moon with Lady Chang'e, the moon fairy.
Once upon a time, 3 fairy sages decided to test the rabbit, fox and monkey. They disguised themselves as pathetic old men begging for food. The fox and monkey gave willingly but the poor rabbit had nothing to give, so it offered itself by jumping into the fire. Touched by the rabbit's virtuous act, the sages sent him to live in the moon. When earth was hit by a plague, Chang'e sent Jade Rabbit to help, disguised as a young lady. During her outings, Jade Rabbit would ride on different animals, e.g. deer, phoenix or tiger. After the plague was successfully wiped out, the people expressed their gratitude by making replicas of Jade Rabbit to worship during the festival. Until today, Jade Rabbit is still remembered and replicated in mooncakes and children's toys. It is depicted as having a human body and rabbit head, sometimes riding on various vehicles or animals like the deer, phoenix or tiger.
My question: Would you like to have a gulp of the elixir of immortality and why?
In Malaysia, other races are invited join in the celebrations. The above photo was taken at a Mid-Autumn Festival night party last year. Colourful lighted lanterns were paraded during the walkabout.
Sometimes, there are lion dances or dragon dances.
This year, I am very much put-off by the high cost of moon cakes which average to about RM 13.00 or more for the traditional lotus paste with single egg yolk. A mooncake with tiramisu filling is ridiculously priced at the cost of 2 slices of tiramisu cake. I think the mooncake is overpriced with a lot of money spent unecessarily on fanciful packaging, advertisements and promotions. The prices are the same and there is no competitive pricing among different vendors. Why force consumers to pay extra for painted wooden/metal/plastic boxes that end up as garbage anyway? I choose to buy selectively.
Lastly, wishing you a BOUNTIFUL HARVEST from everything that you grow!
Updated at 1:23pm:
Coincidentally, today, 12th Sept was also the birth date of the late Leslie Cheung. Below is a video of him singing Theresa Teng's famous song, "The Moon Represents My Heart". Many people who understands mandarin know how to sing this simple but beautiful Taiwanese love song. It is a song we usually sing to that special someone in our lives. My DH sang this song to me on our wedding day many moons ago.
Leslie's fans and those who know him will surely enjoy this. In his opening speech, he is speaks in Cantonese, my mother tongue and dialect.