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Chinese Mid-Autumn Festival Moon Knot

By: AngleYao | Sep 14 2011 | 594 words | 407 hits

The Customs of sacrificing the Moon

From the royalty to the populace, it is an important custom to sacrifice to and appreciate the moon during the Mid-Autumn Festival.  

During the Mid-Autumn Festival, sons and daughters come back to their parents’ house. Sometimes people who have settled overseas will return to visit their parents. Adults will usually indulge in fragrant moon cakes of different varieties with a good cup of piping hot Chinese tea, while the little ones run around with brightly-lit lanterns. After nightfall, entire families go out under the stars for a walk or picnics, looking up at the full silver moon, thinking of their nearby relatives or friends, as well as those who are far from home. A line from a verse “The moon at the home village is exceptionally brighter” expresses those feelings. It can also be a romantic night for lovers, who sit holding hands on riverbanks and park benches, enraptured by the brightest moon of the year.

To celebrate this sighting of the moon, red plastic lanterns wrought in traditional styles and embellished with traditional motifs are prepared for the occasion. The lanterns are made in traditional shapes such as rabbits, goldfish, carps, butterflies and lobsters.

There is a saying in Chinese that marriages are made in heaven and prepared on the moon. The man who does the preparing is the old man of the moon (Yue Lao). He is the one heavenly person who knows everyone’s future partners, and nobody can fight the decisions written down in his book. He is one reason why the moon is so important in Chinese mythology and especially at the time of the Moon Festival. Everybody, includ children, hikes up high mountains or hills or onto open beaches to view the moon in the hope that he will grant their wishes.  

Contrary to what most people believe, this festival probably has less to do with harvest festivities than with the philosophically minded Chinese of old. The union of man’s spirit with nature in order to achieve perfect harmony was the fundamental canon of Taoism, so much so that contemplation of nature was a way of life.  

The Moon in the Chinese aesthetics

According to the myth of the moon, Chang E drank the elixir of life and Wu Kang cut down the cassia tree which can restore itself with each blow, implying an immortal spirit of life. The moon’s waxing and waning greatly influences the Chinese lunar calendar and Chinese philosophy, in pursuit of immortal spirit of life and mysterious wisdom.  

Chinese culture has something in common with the moon, always peaceful and gentle, also are reflected by Chinese whose modest and friendly attitudes best elucidate the spirit of Chinese culture.  

Flying to the Moon

From the myth of Chang’E to the Fly Apsaras of Dunhuang caves, expresses Chinese ancestors’desire to explore outer space. Many ancient Chinese poets also showed their preference for the moon through wonderful words. For example, the poetic genius Libai wrote more than 320 poems about the moon in his lifetime.  

The Chinese exploring moon project is named after Chang’ E, fully expressing this pursuit of the Chinese.  

Chang’e 1 Lunar orbiter was launched to the moon on October 24, 2007. The Chang’e moon satellite will take 3-D images of the moon surface for a year. This is the groundwork for the next Lunar Lander (Chang’e 2) project in 2012, Lunar Sample Return (Chang’e 3) in 2017 and the Chinese astronaut on the moon project. Chang’e 1 Lunar orbiter will achieve the ancient dream of the Chinese.

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    Mid-Autumn Festival Moon