Lunar Calendars

Today is the full moon.

In the Jewish tradition, today is Sukkos, when we hang gourds from a little roof over a make-shift shelter out-of-doors so we can take our meals surrounded by The Harvest.

In the Chinese culture, it is mid-autumn, also a harvest festival and the second most extensive holiday of the year.

In the ancient past, there was a hero named Hou Yee who was excellent at archery. His wife was Chang-uh. One year, the ten suns rose in the sky together, causing great disaster to people. Yee shot down nine of the suns and left only one to provide light. An immortal admired Yee and sent him the elixir of immortality. Yee did not want to leave Chang-uh and be immortal without her, so he let Chang-uh keep the elixir. But Peng Meng, one of his apprentices, knew this secret. So, on the fifteenth of Autumn in the lunar calendar, when Yee went hunting, Peng Meng broke into Yee’s house and forced Chang-uh to give up the elixir. Chang-uh refused to do so. Instead, she swallowed it and flew into the sky. Since she loved very much her husband and hoped to live nearby, she chose the moon for her residence. When Yee came back and learned what had happened, he felt so sad that he displayed the fruits and cakes Chang-uhe liked in the yard and gave sacrifices to his wife. People soon learned about these activities, and since they also were sympathetic to Chang-uh they participated in these sacrifices with Yee.

And so it came to be the custom that everyone eats mooncakes.

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