We can all agree that this year hasn’t been great. I’m sure there are many who will not be doing any celebrating of any kind, either because it’s not a good year to be doing so, or simply because they cannot be with family and friends. This month is the Chinese Mooncake Festival, or Mid-Autumn Festival, where family and friends are supposed to gather together and eat mooncakes (a sweet delicacy). Mooncakes are given as gifts and offerings to family and friends, symbolizing happiness, good luck and well wishes.
There are several versions to the legend behind the Mooncake Festival. According to my mother, the mooncake itself represents the goddess, Chang E. When Chang E was human, she had a heroic husband, Hou Yi, who was awarded a magical potion; an exilir, to become immortal and live in Heaven. But Hou Yi didn’t want to leave his wife, so he kept the exilir. One day, when Hou Yi wasn’t around, a thief broke into the house and demanded Chang E to give him the exilir. Knowing there was no way out for her, Chang E drank the exilir before the thief could land his hands on it. After drinking the exilir, Chang E started to ascend to Heaven without her doing. But because she didn’t want to leave her husband, she ascended to the moon instead where it was the closest she felt to earth. And she has been there ever since. After learning what happened, Hou Yi would often honour and pay his respects to his wife and her heroic actions.
So for this year, I wish for everyone to stay safe, be with loved ones and friends if possible, and be strong. I wish everyone well.