The moon is at its fullest and roundest during the Mid Autumn Time, ie the 15th day of the eighth month of the lunar calendar. This is roughly the same time as the autumn and spring Equinoxes of the solar calendar. Farmers celebrate the end of summer harvesting during the Mid Autumn Festival in ancient days.
The roundness of the moon symbolizes reunion for the Chinese and the family usually gather together during this festive time. In some countries public holiday is declared to celebrate the Mid Autumn Festival.
When I was younger, we would have moon cakes (sort of fruit cake made with lotus seed paste or red bean paste as filling with nuts and salted egg yolks), steam yam and pomelos after dinner out in the veranda as we look up to the sky and appreciate the roundest, brightest moon. I would marvel at the stars and the constellations and would have many questions. And we will chat and played with our hand-made lanterns under the moonlight night.
Moon cakes take center stage during the Mid Autumn Festival besides the lanterns. As legend has it, the common moon cakes helped bring about the revolution of the Han Chinese against the ruling Mongolians.
A Han rebel devised a scheme to over throw the Mongolians by putting messages inside the round moon cakes and passing these to friends far and wide under the pretext that these are to honor the longevity of the Mongolian Emperor. The message embedded in the moon cake has the plan and the date to fight against the Mongolians. On the 15th of the eight month, the uprising over threw the Mongolians and ended the Yuan Dynasty (as legend has it).
It’s a wonder how creativity has made use of something quite plain and ordinary to achieve great things. No wonder it is said that desperation breeds creativity! I wonder if you are faced with any sense of desperation or limitation today? Or would you be seeking to accomplish something? Perhaps the hunger for success will grant you the creativity and the force to conquer your fears and limitations.
Walk down China Town today you will notice new varieties of modernized moon cakes. Yes we even have "iced-skin" moon cakes (best kept cold in the fridge) and chocolate moon cakes (where East meets West). It just goes to show that creativity is still put to great use!
If you have a moment this season you may want to take a look at the moon and the stars and listen to the messages they have for you. The entire universe is alive with lessons to teach and guide us, when we open our ears and listen with our hearts.
Mid Autumn Festival or full moon means harvest and thanksgiving to some and reunion to others. This season, I will be lifting my eyes to the moon. And I know that my family members in faraway lands will be looking at the same moon and enjoying the same blessings. And they will know that "somewhere out there beneath the bright moon light, someone’s thinking of you and sending you lots of love tonight …"
Internet chats and video conferencing will not take the place of messages sent through nature. May nature speak to you in creative ways, everyday.
Have a wonderful Moon Cake or Mid Autumn Festival and long live creativity!