Posted: 15 September 2010 at 2:54pm | IP Logged
In the Chinese lunar calendar, August is in the middle of autumn and the 15th day is in the middle of the month. This explains why the 15th of August is called the Mid Autumn Festival. The day is also known as the moon festival, for on that day, the moon is at its fullest and brightest.
Actually, worship for moon among Chinese people begun thousands of years ago. The celebration of the moon has been a custom since the Xian Qin period before the 2nd century BC.(www honestspace com) During the Tang Dynasty the Mid-Autumn Festival was established as an official festival. An expert of Chinese folklore Liu Xiaofeng explains why Chinese people have such special feelings about the moon.
"In ancient China, people's spiritual lives were based around their agricultural communities. In spring, they prayed for favorable weather for the year ahead. In autumn after the harvest, they sanctified fruits to requite the gods. That is why our ancestors set up the Mid-Autumn Festival."
However, to thank the gods for the abundance was just a custom of the sovereign courts. As they thought the moon was divine, they held solemn rituals to show their respect and worship of it. In the folk culture, to worship the moon was more for personal reasons. For people believe there was an old man under the moon in charge of their marriages.
"During the Tang dynasty, there was a young man named Wei Gu. Once he saw an old man leaning on his pack reading a book in the moonlight. Wei Gu asked what he was doing. The old man answered, "I am reading a book of marriage which lists who is going to marry who. In my pack are red cords for tying the feet of the husband and wife together."
Then Wei Gu and the old man saw an old blind woman carrying a little girl in her arms. The old man said to Wei Gu," This little girl will be your wife in the future." Wei Gu thought this was too strange to believe and he ordered his servant to stab the girl with his knife.
Fourteen years later, Wei Gu got married. His wife was a beautiful young woman, but Wei Gu found that there was a scar between her eyebrows. When he asked what had happened, he was told that she had been stabbed by a man fourteen years before."
Since the story was first told, people have believed that this old man under the moon would ensure them a successful marriage. Young folks, especially girls, often prayed to the moon to meet their Mr. or Ms Right. Besides the legend of this old man, there is another widely known fairy tale about the moon.(www honestspace com) It is a beautiful and sad love story.
"Four thousand years ago, there was a hero called Hou Yi, who shot nine suns from the sky to protect the earth from the heat. He had a beautiful wife names Chang'e. The couple lived happily together. One day, an immortal emperor gave Houyi a pill which could grant eternal life as a reward. Houyi then let Chang'e store the pill in her jewelry box.
But one of Houyi's apprentices, Peng Meng, discovered this secret. One day Houyi was out, so Peng Meng broke into Chang'e's room and forced her to give him the pill. Chang'e knew she couldn't fight him alone, so she swallowed the pill immediately. Then she found herself floating in the air and flying further away. She did not want to leave her husband, so she stopped at the moon.
After Houyi knew what happened, he was very angry. He looked up the night sky and discovered that inside the moon there is a lady's shadow which looked like Chang'e.
When people knew what happened, they all prayed in the yard for the pretty and kind girl. Since then, the worship of the moon has become a folk custom."
Such beautiful folktales have been passed down among people for thousands of years. Poets too have their own way to express their love of the moon. There are many poems in Chinese literature appreciating the moon. The earliest one was collected in the "Book of Songs", which was the first poetry collection in China. Liu Xiaofeng explains the poets' enthusiasm.
"In Chinese people's view, family reunion is one of the most important things. During the Mid Autumn Festival, the moon is at its fullest and roundest. In Chinese "round" means reunion, so poets usually like to write about the moon to express their homesickness."
By and by, the moon has become a very popular image in poems. Liu Xiaofeng says sensitive poets then further developed their emotion for the moon and endowed it with even more meaning. …..
"The cyclical change of the moon was often used as a metaphor for the passing of time. The new moon turning into a full moon can be seen as a rebirth, so the moon was also a symbol of eternity. Then for people in different places looking at the same moon, they also saw it as a way to express their yearnings towards their families and friends."
One of the best example of those literary work about moon is the lyrics "Thinking of You", written by Su Shi during the Song Dynasty. (www honestspace com) In it, Su Shi first wonders about the mystery of the moon and yearns for what it represents. Then he expresses how he misses his brother, who he hasn't seen for seven years.If you like, thank you reproduced my suggestion! this is
by Nola Qiang
Anhui Friand international trade holding group.
branch : tulip international trade company