Middle moon festival
In wanting to pay homage to my culture, I thought sharing a Chinese myth about the background of the middle moon would be apropos. There are a few variations on the story but has one main character, Chang’o or Chang’e who is known as the goddess of the moon. This is my favorite of all the stories…
Chang’e was a young beautiful girl who worked in the Jade Emperor’s palace in heaven where humans, immortals, and fairies coexisted. One day when she accidentally broke a precious porcelain jar, she was exiled by the Jade Emperor to live on earth with all of the other mortals and was only allowed to return to heaven if she was able to be of contribution of a valuable service.
Having transformed into a gorgeous woman at 18 while she was living with a rich farming family, she met a hunter, Houyi, whom she quickly befriended. A rather strange phenomenon occurred one day when 10 suns blazed the earth instead of one. Houyi, being an expert archer, became a hero when he shot 9 of them down which resulted in him being king.
They soon married. With the money and power also came greed. Houyi, discontent with being a mortal, ordered for an elixir of life to be concocted for him. The creation was almost ready when Chang’e came across it and either purposely or accidentally swallowed the only recipe for immortality.
When King Houyi discovered this, he was so angered that he started chasing Chang’e and in trying to flee, she jumped out of the palace window. Rather than falling, she started to float up towards the moon while the king unsuccessfully attempted to shoot her with arrows. She floated until she landed on the moon where she met the Jade Rabbit, the only other life creature to domicile there where they became friends and till this day create the elixir of life together.
The middle moon falls on the 15th day, when the moon is at its fullest, of the 8th or 9th month of the Gregorian calendar, which is our harvest moon. To be blessed by the Goddess of the Moon requires for an altar to be set along with some candles and moon cakes (a Chinese delicacy) which can be found in Chinese bakeries only during this time of the year. In doing so, Chang’e endows her followers with beauty.
There are also a few other symbolisms for this particular moon and they are to:
Give thanks for all that you have harvested and will continue to harvest.
Pray for others and yourself.
Reunite with family and friends.
Take some time today or even tomorrow, when the full moons potency is still emanating strength to bring to a culmination of everything that you have worked so hard for. Give thanks, pray, and show gratitude to your loved ones. Happy full moon blessings!