Words and Tibits
on Chinese Customs

By: Stella Fong

In mid-September , on the 15th Day of the 8th Lunar Month, when the moon is the biggest and brightest, celebration of the Moon Festival begins. On this evening, friends and relatives gather together for the viewing of the moon.

The Moon Festival

On the 15th day of the 8th lunar year,
for celebration of the Moon Festival we should share.

Friends and relatives from near and far,
gather this night to view the largest star.
The Moon Lady, Chang E, on the moon she rests,
grants wishes to those who send her requests.

When the universe had ten suns, long, long ago,
Master Archer saved the earth from burning aglow.
With bow and arrow, he shot down nine of the suns,
and was rewarded by the Queen Mother of the West for a job well done.

A magic potion that granted him eternal life,
was mistakenly taken by his wife.
Though safely hidden, the potion glowed,
leading Chang E to loose control.

One drink and she began to rise
right in front of her husband's eyes.
Transformed to a toad,
straight to the moon she did float.

Quiet and silence reside on the moon,
between the cinnamon trees and dusty stones.
With a sneeze, a jade rabbit transformed,
to life in a silvery white form.

Now, Master Archer resides in the Palace of the Sun,
and can visit his wife only on the 15th day of each month.
But on the eighth month, Chang E and rabbit observe
all the festivities on the earth.

Mooncakes, for all should eat,
for within the flaky pastry, is a filling of sweets.
Red bean paste, lotus seed paste, or nuts fill the inside,
along with egg yolks symbolizing the moon so bright.

Moon Cakes

(The picture is from the international renown Maria's Bakery.)

In the 14th century, the mooncakes saved a nation,
from the foreign Mongols in a revolution.
Secret messages placed inside,
are now square pieces of paper placed on the outside.

Let the brightness and roundness of the moon this night,
bring us harmony, togetherness and a life full of light.

Email your comments to: Stella Fong

She teaches Asian style cooking classes to adults and children in Southern California.

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