Unusual Mid-Autumn Festival Folklores
By Alexius Chua
September 8, 2014
Here comes the dragon!
Mid-Autumn Festival is widely celebrated among the Chinese. Conventional legend has it that Chang’e, the wife of a merciless ruler, drank the elixir of immortality and flew to the moon to end her husband’s evil deeds. While this story has been repeated over many centuries, there are a few unusual folklores that have been kept in the dark for a long time. So let’s uncover these interesting stories for you to treat your friends during this festive gathering. But be warned; prepare some tissue to dry your eyes for tale #3.
Do you know why you carry a lantern and walk aimlessly around the park? Legend has it that the Jade Emperor's pet crane was hunted down and killed by some villagers. For revenge, he planned a storm of fire to burn the entire village on the 15th lunar day. Despaired by the early warning given by the Jade Emperor's daughter, the village was in turmoil as they didn't know how to escape the imminent destruction. Luckily, a wise man suggested hanging red lanterns around the houses and carrying it on the streets. This would give the village the appearance of being on fire to the Jade Emperor.
As far as we know, it works perfectly till today, no lest the occasional man-made bushfires in the park. Listen to your parents, don't play with fire!
Wu Gang chopping Cherry Tree
Here's a tale for the boh chup people: Wu Gang, a woodchopper, aspired to be an immortal, but he was chin chai (half-hearted) in studying the necessary theory. The Jade Emperor got angry with him because of his attitude. As punishment, the Jade Emperor planted a huge cherry bay on the moon and ordered Wu Gang to chop it down before he could become immortal.
This time, however, Wu Gang was very diligent, but he could never finish his work. The cherry bay healed itself every time he chopped it.
On unclouded nights people can see shadows on the moon. No, not Sentinel Prime's fallen spaceship in The Dark Side of The Moon - they are said to be cast by the huge cherry bay.
Jade Rabbit grinds medicine
There's a lesser-known sequel to Chang'e Flying to the Moon. It depicts three sages who transformed themselves into pitiful old men. One day they met a fox, a monkey and a rabbit, and they begged for food. The fox and monkey shared their portion whereas the rabbit, with nothing to share, jumped into a blazing fire to offer his own flesh instead. The sages were so touched by the rabbit's kindness that they sent it to live in the Moon Palace and appointed it to be the Jade Rabbit. Chang'e loved the Jade Rabbit at first sight and they became inseparable friends.
Upon hearing her story, the Jade Rabbit felt sympathetic and decided to make a special heavenly medicine to help Chang'e return to Earth. Unfortunately, the Jade Rabbit is unable to concoct it despite pia-ing for thousands of years. Legend has it that if you observe on the moon closely during Mid-Autumn Day, you can still see the garang Jade Rabbit making his heavenly medicine. Aww...
Overthrow an empire
Mooncakes are delicious, albeit sinful, pastries. But do you know these tasty delicacies have facilitated in overthrowing a dynasty? Used as a medium by Ming revolutionaries in their espionage effort in overthrowing the Mongolian rulers of China, the message was embossed on the mooncakes' surface as a simple puzzle or mosaic. To read the encrypted message, each of the four mooncakes packaged together must be cut into four parts each. The sixteen pieces must then be pieced together in such a fashion that the secret message can be read. Once the information was consumed, the pieces were literally consumed.
While you are bracing for tonight’s celebration, allow your taste buds to go into overdrive and check out the Mooncake Promotions. Have a happy Mid-Autumn Festival everybody.
Spend some quality time with your parents and siblings at the Families for Life Celebrations happening on 13-14th September!
Looking for some crazy mug-o-mug with your pals? Celebrate Oktoberfest 2014 with us and enjoy a night of frothy beer and tasty food that warms your stomach.
Love swimming? Why not swim for a good cause and join SAFRA Swim for Hope 2014!