Saturday, September 22, 2007

Mooncake day~~~~~ Part 1

I've been going thru an orientation program at my new company last week. Among the 9 ppl, there were 3 Filipino guys in the class. They were saying that they weren't quite used to the spicy Malay food here, and they had been having chicken evryday for the past few weeks. haha.....This is how it is in our multiracial country. The canteen doesn't serve pork because of the Malays @ Muslims, and it doesn't serve beef because of the Indians @ Hindus. Sooo.... all we get is chicken and maybe fish. But we are lucky they do serve anything at all, as it is the fasting month. Anyway, I get the feeling that they love pork.... mention anything that has pork in it and their eyes light up! o.O

So I told them about some Chinese food they could try.... like char siew, siew yoke, zhong (dumpling with pork)...... and talking about food, they asked me why did we call a mooncake a mooncake. (They had sumthing similar to that back home but it was called a diff name) Which brings me back to think about the origins of Mooncake day....oops Mid-Autumn Festival 中秋节 which falls on the 15th day of the 8th month in the Lunar calendar, which is Sept 25th this yr.

In my memory, there are a few Mid-Autumn stories my mom used to tell me. One was a legend about Chang Er the moon goddess, then another was about a woodcutter and a rabbit o.O, and another more serious story which really happened in history was about hiding msgs in mooncakes to facilitate a revolution. But all these stories are hazy in my mind now, so I decided to get my facts straight about them now.

They are many variations to the Chang Er story, but basically, the main elements are : Hou Yi the great archer, Chang Er the moon goddess, 10 Suns, Elixir of Life, The Moon.

The story goes like this :

One day, the 10 sons of the Jade Emperor turned themselves into 10 suns. The 10 suns appearing around earth at once scorched the ground and caused death and destruction to the mortals on earth. The Jade Emperor turned to the Hou Yi for help. Hou Yi then shot them down one by one with his bow and arrows. His wife Chang Er pleaded with him to leave at least one sun/son alive, which is the sun that we have now. The Jade Emperor was very angry, knowing that 9 of his son's had been killed by Hou Yi. He banished Hou Yi and Change Er to live as mortals on earth. Chang Er was very unhappy so Hou Yi went to look for the elixir of life so that both of them could remain as immortals. However, Chang Er drank the whole bottle herself and due to the overdose, floated up to the moon. She became the moon goddess and made the Moon Palace her home.

Staying on the moon by herself would be very very lonely for her so there are a few other moon characters such as Wu Gang the woodcutter and Yu Tu the jade rabbit to keep her company. More mooncake festival stories about that in my next blog. May also consider introducing my fav mooncake flavors too haha....

Read more about Mid-Autumn festival at Wikipedia - Mid-Autumn Fest.

A little trivia for u: (found at

The moon goddess was mentioned in the conversation between Houston Capcom and Apollo11 crew just before the first moon landing:

Houston: Among the large headlines concerning Apollo this morning there's one asking that you watch for a lovely girl with a big rabbit. An ancient legend says a beautiful Chinese girl called Chango has been living there for 4000 years. It seems she was banished to the moon because she stole the pill for immortality from her husband. You might also look for her companion, a large Chinese rabbit, who is easy to spot since he is only standing on his hind feet in the shade of a cinnamon tree. The name of the rabbit is not recorded.

Collins: Okay, we'll keep a close eye for the bunny girl.



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