Mid-Autumn Festival Fun Facts
2013-09-17
Mid Autumn Festival, Tet Trung Thu, Chang E, Hang Nga, Jade Rabbit, mooncakes, traditional Chinese celebration, Thanksgiving, harvest festival
When you were younger, you’ve probably heard of how Chang’e (嫦娥), the Jade Rabbit (玉兔), and Wu Gang (吳剛) wound up on the Moon. In fact, you might have been told as many as three versions of the Chang’e story alone! But has anyone told you about these instead? (Note that some are facts, not myths.) Landed on the Moon by accident The Vietnamese celebrate the Mid-Autumn Festival, too, and they call it Tết Trung Thu. In their folklore, Chang’e is known as Hằng Nga. Her story alone spans a few versions; one goes that Hằng Nga accidentally urinated on a sacred banyan tree. Then, the tree began to float toward the Moon, leaving her stranded there. So at every Tết Trung Thu, Vietnamese children would light lanterns and take part in processions to show her the way back to Earth. Valentine’s of some sort In ancient times, the Mid-Autumn Festival also worked like modern-day Valentine’s Day, thanks to the Chinese cupid Yue Xia Lao Ren (月下老人), a.k.a. Yue Lao (月老), which literally means “the old man under the moon.” His birthday falls on the Fifteenth Day of the Eighth Month (八月十五) of the Chinese calendar! Rice porridge to cast off rats Each year during the fall fest, to prevent precious silkworms from getting eaten, Ancient Chinese silk makers would cook up pots of rice porridge as an offering to rats. After all, the Mid-Autumn Festival started out as a harvest festival and a time for thanksgiving. Mooncakes to “contain” an epidemic In the 14th century, mooncakes were used by the Ming revolutionaries to coordinate the overthrow of the Mongols of the Yuan Dynasty. The latter apparently didn’t eat mooncakes. Secret messages were hidden in or on the pastries. To speed up their distribution, rumors of a deadly plague that could only be prevented by eating those special mooncakes were circulated!
Mid Autumn Festival, Tet Trung Thu, Chang E, Hang Nga, Jade Rabbit, mooncakes, traditional Chinese celebration, Thanksgiving, harvest festival
Image courtesy of Toa55 / FreeDigitalPhotos.net
Curse of the Moon As the Mid-Autumn Festival nears, hundreds would gather on the banks of Qiantang River (錢塘江), in China’s Zhejiang Province, to catch the world’s largest tidal bore. This occurs only under a new or full moon, when Earth, the Moon, and the Sun come into an alignment, increasing the gravitational pull on Earth. Sadly, tragedies happen every year. Like in 2011, over 20 people were injured by a 27-foot tidal bore that crashed into the spectating crowds. Big labor of love According to unofficial records, the world’s largest mooncake was made by a supermarket in Shenyang, northeastern China, on Aug. 21, 2007. It was 8.15 meters in diameter and 20 centimeters tall, with a total surface area of 52 square meters. The 13-ton delicacy took 10 cooks 10 painstaking hours to make!

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Keyword
Mid-Autumn Festival
mooncakes
Chang'e
Jade Rabbits
Tet Trung Thu
Hang Nga
traditional Chinese celebration
Thanksgiving
harvest festival
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