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Mid-Autumn Festival- Contribuited

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The Mid-Autumn Festival falls on the 15th day of the 8th lunar month. People usually enjoy the full, bright moon on that day, express their thoughts and feelings to their beloved friends, lovers and families if they can not get together.

 

There is a legend goes like this:

 

In ancient China, there were ten suns rising in the sky, which scorched all crops and drove people into dire poverty. A hero named Hou Yi shot down the nine superfluous suns and ordered the last sun to rise and set according to time. For this reason, he was respected and loved by the people and lots of people of ideals and integrity came to him to learn martial arts from him. A person named Peng Meng lurked in them.

 

Hou Yi had a beautiful and kindhearted wife named Chang E. One day Empress of Heaven Wangmu presented to him a parcel of elixir, by taking which, it was said, one would ascend immediately to heaven and become a celestial being. Hou Yi, however, hated to part with his wife. So he gave the elixir to Chang E to treasure for the time being. Chang E hid the parcel in a treasure box at her dressing table when, unexpectedly, it was seen by Peng Meng.

 

One day when Hou Yi is out, Peng Meng forced Chang E to hand over the elixir. Aware that she was unable to defeat Peng Meng, Chang E made a prompt decision at that critical moment. She swallowed the elixir, and her body floated off the ground, dashed out of the window and flew towards heaven.

 

When Hou Yi returned home at dark, he knew from the maidservants what had happened. Overcome with grief, Hou Yi looked up into the night sky and called out the name of his beloved wife when, to his surprise, he found that the moon was especially clear and bight and on it there was a swaying shadow that was exactly like his wife. He tried his best to chase after the moon. But as he ran, the moon retreated; as he withdrew, the moon came back. He could not get to the moon at all.

 

Thinking of his wife day and night, Hou Yi then had an incense table arranged in the back garden that Chang E loved. Putting on the table sweetmeats and fresh fruits Chang E enjoyed most, Hou Yi held at a distance a memorial ceremony for Chang E who was sentimentally attached to him in the palace of the moon.

 

When people heard of the story that Chang E had turned into a celestial being, they arranged the incense table in the moonlight one after another and prayed kindhearted Chang E for good fortune and peace. From then on the custom of worshiping the moon spread among the people.

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