At the Asian supermarket, boxes of mooncakes are on display; September 30th is the date of the Chinese Moon Festival. Mooncakes are a traditional food eaten during this time of the year; they are round pastries filled with lotus paste and salty egg yolks, which symbolizes the fullness of the moon. Children would be given lit paper lanterns to carry around on poles and family and friends would gather to enjoy the beauty of the full moon.
There is also an ancient Chinese legend that accompanies this festival; the folktale says there lives a rabbit in the moon called 月兔 (yu toe, moon rabbit). It is said that Chang’e secretly swallowed the elixir of immortality from Queen Mother of the West, and then started flying up. In a hurry, she grabbed a white rabbit to accompany her. From then on, Chang’e and the rabbit cohabit the moon for eternity.
I love this time of year because it also heralds in the beginning of fall in a festive way. Watching the glow of paper lanterns and tasting the sweetness of the mooncakes is a great way to celebrate.
Rabbits, lanterns, and mooncakes: what else could a child ask for on a beautiful night like this?