"Zhong Qiu Jie" (The Harvest Moon Festival or the Mid-Autumn Festival), which is one of the most important holidays in China, is on Aug 15th of Chinese calendar (It's usually in September or October in C. E.). Family reunions, moon gazing, and the eating of moon cakes mark it. In China, round means satisfactory. So round and satisfactory in Chinese are the same words. And the full moon also means satisfactory, so people like to get together with the relatives on the Moon Festival Day.

  The head of a family usually asks all the family members over on that day to dinner. The person who is good at cook should help the host prepare lots of delicious Chinese food using chicken, duck, fish, pork, vegetables, sea eels, crabs and so on.

    But those are normal food that you can have at a Chinese restaurant all the time. There is also a special and delicious kind of food for Moon Festival only. It's the moon cake. You can see salty yolks, nuts, fruit preserves or special candies with red bean paste inside of the cake. On the round surface, there are some Chinese characters that tell you what kind of cake it is, or to say something auspicious.

  The moon in China has a beautiful myth. My grandma told it to me on one Mid-Autumn day: Long Long ago, there were 10 suns in the sky. So it was very hot and the land was dry. The plants were all dead without water. At that time, a great archer named "Hou Yi" drew a strong magic bow and nine golden arrows to shot down nine of the suns. Then the world returned to normal. So the Jade Emperor (the king of the universe) allowed him to become a god. He gave Hou Yi a cup of herbal ingredients which would give him and his beautiful wife "Chang Er" the power to ascend to heaven. But Chang Er was so selfish that she ate all herself.  She had so much power that she couldn't stop at heaven. She continued to fly up until she reached the moon. From then on, she has had a pitiful life. It's very cold there and only a jade rabbit lives with her. In fact, there is another young man "Wu Kang" who's been cutting a cassia tree all his life. Of course that's a  special tree which can revive immediately after it is cut. I like this myth very much. And I'll tell my grandchild this myth and ask him to tell his...


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David Hua   Nov 29th