Here, we are, at the first Chinese Interpreters social gathering, enjoying authentic Chinese dishes in a local restaurant. What prompted our special gathering is the celebration of the Moon Festival (aka Mid-Autumn Festival which is the 15th day of August in the Chinese Lunar calendar). Other than having family reunion as most holidays, we also celebrate it at outdoors under the big and bright moon, sharing moon cakes. Yum!
The legend behind the holiday is a sad love story which was passed down from 16th century. “In the ancient past, there was a hero named [Hou] Yi who was excellent at archery. His wife was Chang’e. One year, the ten suns rose in the sky together, causing great disaster to the people. Yi shot down nine of the suns and left only one to provide light. An immortal admired Yi and sent him the elixir of immortality. Yi did not want to leave Chang’e and be immortal without her, so he let Chang’e keep the elixir.
But Peng Meng, one of his apprentices, knew this secret. So, on the fifteenth of August in the lunar calendar, when Yi went hunting, Peng Meng broke into Yi’s house and forced Chang’e to give the elixir to him. Chang’e refused to do so. Instead, she swallowed it and flew into the sky. Since she loved her husband very much and hoped to live nearby, she chose the moon for her residence. When Yi came back and learned what had happened, he felt so sad that he displayed the fruits and cakes Chang’e liked in the yard and gave sacrifices to his wife. People soon learned about these activities, and since they also were sympathetic to Chang’e they participated in these sacrifices with Yi.” (Handbook of Chinese Mythology by Lihui Yang)
After the dinner, we went to Karaoke, which is a very popular entertainment for any type of social event in Asia. The night was filled with nostalgia as we took turn to sing songs of our times. It seemed we were all brought back to our younger years. What a memorable night with my dear fellow Interpreters!!