Myth of the moon

Today we celebrate the Mid-Autumn Festival(中秋節), but it’s Chuseok for the Koreans. Besides the Dumpling Festival (端午節)or Dano in Korea and Lunar New Year or Sollal, the Korean version, Koreans pay great emphasis on this same day. I would actually see Chuseok as a mixture of some two festivals rolled into one big celebration, such as 清明節 when the families will pay a visit to the tombs of their ancestors. Of course the Koreans have also 청명 as its equivalent, but I am quite certain that this is not as important a day as Chuseok is to them. Then the name itself also signifies the season of mid autumn and although the tradition does not include indulging in the palatable mooncakes and savoring a pot of fragrant Chinese tea, I am sure the Koreans may be seated as a family to admire the moon while happily feasting away. In fact, I am an advocate of the spirit of family reunion or togetherness, and have no craving for the mooncakes, so both cultures are just as interesting in my opinion.

Dad once commented that mooncake can be such a scarce commodity on normal days since no one seem to be making or serving it other than during the festive season, and this is so true indeed! Unlike the dumplings for instance, mooncake does seem to be non-existent and I wonder if this is because of its high calories count. Anyways, I like buying others mooncakes or just seeing how many will frantically grab the last few on the shelf before they made their exit after today. You may not know this, but mooncakes should get very much cheaper after a day or two, but apparently they must taste very different after today.

There is also a tradition for some in some Chinese circles to worship the goddess on the moon, especially for single ladies with a wish to find their “better halves”. I have no qualms about making a wish but to cast that trust on yet another lady, as mythical as she has come to be known of, we should really take this with a pinch of salt. And even if the myth is more than a myth, that moon goddess is on the moon, all by herself. I suppose she will herself wish for a companion to keep her from boredom. Perhaps the chances of hearing a howling wolf will anytime surpass that of the trace of love in the air. Still, it is nice to believe in the beautiful tales and fables and get just a little sentimental over the fuller moon.

Happy mooncake feasting! And if you are in Korea, enjoy your family reunion.


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