Mid-Autumn Festival 2012: A merry time under the full moon sky.......
|The Sky Garden and the Moon : Birth of a new Legend?|
We triumphed against all odds that squashed our attempts to experience the beautiful mid Autumn Festival in the previous years. Thanks to our ever gracious Singaporean couple friends, we finally made it! With its traditional nuances and funfair, it filled our Sunday cup of joy to the brim!
We were probably among a thousand people who thronged the stores at the festival to get a view and taste of the authentic Chinese culture - Singapore style! Smart organizers of the Marina Sands made sure we bought vouchers for everything under the full moon sky. This opportunity was grabbed by our generous friends. From the delicacies to Chinese calligraphy, the whole experience was so worthy. And I shamelessly declare that we enjoyed every bit of it sans a penny - thanks to our friends!
|Dough Figurines : Many Yummy Shapes!|
|Beauty of (Chinese) words : Calligraphy|
|Li'l ones and the faces they wanna don : Mask painting!|
The festival has many legends. This one particularly works well with me....
Houyi was an immortal, living and working with his wife Chang'e, in the palace of the Jade Emperor (Emperor of heaven). Jealousy of the other immortals managed to slander and eventually banish the couple from heaven. They were forced to live on earth. Houyi had to hunt for a living and became a skilled and known archer.
|Playing Legendary parts : Houyi and Chang'e|
During the same time, the ten suns in the form of a three legged birds were residing in a mulberry tree in the eastern sea. Each day, one of the sun birds had to travel round the world in a carriage, driven by Xihe, 'mother’ of the suns. One day, all the suns circled together causing the earth to burn. Emperor of China, Emperor Yao ordered the famous archer, Houyi to shoot down all the suns but one. Houyi successfully did so and the Emperor rewarded him with a pill that granted eternal life. Like all rewards, this one too had one condition. Houyi had to prepare himself by praying and fasting before he swallowed the pill. Houyi took the pill and hid it under the rafter. While he was away, His wife Chang'e discovered and swallowed it. She immediately realized her power to fly. When Houyi found out what happened, he reprimanded his wife. This made her fly out of the window and into the sky. Houyi pursued her halfway but strong winds got him back to earth. On reaching the moon, Chang'e coughed out part of the pill. She ordered the hare living on the moon to make another pill that would get her back to her beloved husband on Earth.
The legend says that the hare is still pounding herbs for the pill. In the meantime, Houyi built himself a palace in the sun representing "Yang" (the male principle), contrasting Chang’e’s home on the moon which represents "Yin" (the female principle). Now comes the happy part. Every year, during the mid-autumn, on a beautiful, full moon night, Houyi visits his wife... and that, my friends, makes one romantic story behind the Mid-Autumn festival.
Mid-Autumn Festival 2012 was one fantastic discovery of the intricacies of a 'so near yet so far' culture. The festive unearthing of a speck of China on Sunday makes feel so ignorant, all over again. Its culture is as big and rich as its geography and demography. And, worth mentioning, are its people’s manners that were so pleasing - opposed to the curt of some customer service men and women, in a particular coffee shop, at the ground level of the very posh Marina Sands.
|Cultural Harmony :)|
I won’t be missing next year’s celebrations for sure, come what may. Till then, hope the hare on the moon is good company to Chang’e.