Mid-Autumn Festival In Central Florida
Dear Friends & Neighbors,
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Since late August, one would find towers of great variety of mooncakes, beautifully packaged in all Asian supermarkets. The Mid-Autumn Festival/season is here!
This weekend, here in Central Florida, there will be Mid-Autumn Festival celebration at:
- Saturday, September 14, 2019, 7:00 pm-8:30 pm, Guang Ming Temple, 6555 Hoffner Ave., Orlando, FL
- Sunday, September 15, 2019, 5:00 pm-8:00 pm, Sanford Civic Center, 401 E. Seminole Blvd., Sanford, FL
Below, you will find an excerpt from wikipedia, in italics, about Mid-Autumn Festival:
The Mid-Autumn Festival is a harvest festival celebrated notably by the Chinese and Vietnamese people. It relates to Chuseok (in Korea) and Tsukimi (in Japan). The festival is held on the 15th day of the 8th month of the lunar calendar with a full moon at night, corresponding to mid September to early October of the Gregorian calendar.
The festival celebrates three fundamental concepts that are closely connected:
- Gathering, such as family and friends coming together, or harvesting crops for the festival. It is said the moon is the brightest and roundest on this day which means family reunion. Consequently, this is the main reason why the festival is thought to be important.
- Thanksgiving, to give thanks for the harvest, or for harmonious unions
- Praying (asking for conceptual or material satisfaction), such as for babies, a spouse, beauty, longevity, or for a good future
Traditions and myths surrounding the festival are formed around these concepts, although traditions have changed over time due to changes in technology, science, economy, culture, and religion. It’s about well being together.
The Mid-Autumn Festival is also known by other names, such as:
- Moon Festival or Harvest Moon Festival, because of the celebration’s association with the full moon on this night, as well as the traditions of moon worship and moon viewing.
- Zhōngqiū Jié (中秋节), is the official name in Mandarin.
- Jūng-chāu Jit (中秋節), official name in Cantonese.
- Tết Trung Thu, official name in Vietnamese.
- Lantern Festival, a term sometimes used in Singapore, Malaysia and Indonesia, which is not to be confused with the Lantern Festival in China that occurs on the 15th day of the first month of the Chinese calendar.
- Reunion Festival, in earlier times, a woman in China took this occasion to visit her parents before returning to celebrate with her husband and his parents.
- Children’s Festival, in Vietnam, because of the emphasis on the celebration of children.
- Chuseok (추석/秋夕; Autumn Eve), Korean variant of the Mid-Autumn Festival celebrated on the same day in the lunar calendar.
- Tsukimi (月見; Moon-Viewing), Japanese variant of the Mid-Autumn Festival celebrated on the same day in the lunar calendar.
- សែនព្រះខែ, official name in Cambodian.
Origins and development
The Chinese have celebrated the harvest during the autumn full moon since the Shang dynasty (c. 1600–1046 BCE). For the Baiyue peoples, the harvest time commemorated the dragon who brought rain for the crops. The celebration as a festival only started to gain popularity during the early Tang dynasty (618–907 CE). One legend explains that Emperor Xuanzong of Tang started to hold formal celebrations in his palace after having explored the Moon-Palace. The term mid-autumn (中秋) first appeared in Rites of Zhou, a written collection of rituals of the Western Zhou dynasty (1046–771 BCE). As for the royal court, it is dedicated to the goddess Taiyinxingjun(太陰星君 Tàiyīn xīng jūn );.And current still in taoism and Chinese folk religion
Empress Dowager Cixi (late 19th century) enjoyed celebrating Mid-Autumn Festival so much that she would spend the period between the thirteenth and seventeenth day of the eighth month staging elaborate rituals.
An important part of the festival celebration is moon worship. The ancient Chinese believed in rejuvenation being associated with the moon and water, and connected this concept to the menstruation of women, calling it “monthly water”. The Zhuang people, for example, have an ancient fable saying the sun and moon are a couple and the stars are their children, and when the moon is pregnant, it becomes round, and then becomes crescent after giving birth to a child. These beliefs made it popular among women to worship and give offerings to the moon on this evening. In some areas of China, there are still customs in which “men do not worship the moon and the women do not offer sacrifices to the kitchen gods.”
Offerings are also made to a more well-known lunar deity, Chang’e, known as the Moon Goddess of Immortality. The myths associated with Chang’e explain the origin of moon worship during this day. One version of the story is as follows, as described in Lihui Yang’s Handbook of Chinese Mythology:
In the ancient past, there was a hero named Hou Yi who was excellent at archery. His wife was Chang’e. One year, the ten suns rose in the sky together, causing great disaster to the people. Yi shot down nine of the suns and left only one to provide light. An immortal admired Yi and sent him the elixir of immortality. Yi did not want to leave Chang’e and be immortal without her, so he let Chang’e keep the elixir. However, Peng Meng, one of his apprentices, knew this secret. So, on the fifteenth of August in the lunar calendar, when Yi went hunting, Peng Meng broke into Yi’s house and forced Chang’e to give the elixir to him. Chang’e refused to do so. Instead, she swallowed it and flew into the sky. Since she loved her husband and hoped to live nearby, she chose the moon for her residence. When Yi came back and learned what had happened, he felt so sad that he displayed the fruits and cakes Chang’e liked in the yard and gave sacrifices to his wife. People soon learned about these activities, and since they also were sympathetic to Chang’e they participated in these sacrifices with Yi.
Handbook of Chinese Mythology also describes an alternate common version of the myth:
After the hero Houyi shot down nine of the ten suns, he was pronounced king by the thankful people. However, he soon became a conceited and tyrannical ruler. In order to live long without death, he asked for the elixir from Xiwangmu. But his wife, Chang’e, stole it on the fifteenth of August because she did not want the cruel king to live long and hurt more people. She took the magic potion to prevent her husband from becoming immortal. Houyi was so angry when discovered that Chang’e took the elixir, he shot at his wife as she flew toward the moon, though he missed. Chang’e fled to the moon and became the spirit of the moon. Houyi died soon because he was overcome with great anger. Thereafter, people offer a sacrifice to Chang’e on every lunar fifteenth of August to commemorate Chang’e’s action.
Photographed, gathered, written, and posted by Windermere Sun-Susan Sun Nunamaker More about the community at www.WindermereSun.com
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