This week is the Mid-Autumn Festival, which celebrates our longing to be together! The full moon that occurs nearest to the autumnal equinox is significant to people around the world. In many Asian countries, this full moon is celebrated with lanterns, mooncakes, and family reunions.
According to Chinese legend, the goddess Chang'e drank an elixir of immortality and went into exile on the moon (along with her pet rabbit who can be seen as a silhouette on the surface of the moon). In recordings of the 1969 moon landing, we can hear the Apollo 11 astronauts talking about the legend: “Okay Houston, we will keep an eye out for the bunny girl.” In 2013, China became the third nation to send astronauts to the moon on their spacecraft named Chang'e. The robotic rover was called Yutu (jade rabbit).
According to legend, Chang'e chose the moon because she had to be apart from her beloved, but wanted to stay nearby. The moon is a powerful symbol - ever-changing and yet eternal. Her light guides us in our darkest hours.
The Upper School Asian Student Association gave a presentation on the history and traditions surrounding the Mid-Autumn Festival, including many personal anecdotes. We are happy to share the recording with all our families. And we enjoyed watching Ms. Lin’s Sixth Grade Mandarin Class making lanterns as they learned about the rich culture surrounding this popular festival.
Go out and see the moon tonight!
Director of Philosophy, Ethics, and World Religions
Thank you to Shirley Li, Upper School Mandarin Teacher, for recommending this traditional poem:
Viewing the Moon, Thinking of you
As the moon shines bright over the sea,
From far away you share this moment with me.
Being apart has made my heart in agony,
All night long I think of no one but thee.
To enjoy the moon, I blow out the candle light.
And put on your coat in the cold of the night.
I will try to send a message in the moonbeams,
And then to sleep, hoping to reunite in dreams.
Zhang Jiuling - Tang Dynasty (618-907)