When we talk to the derivation of the Mid-Autumn Day, we might turn back several pages of the history book.
The Mid-Autumn Festival falls on the 15th day of the 8th lunar month, usually in September in Gregorian calendar.
The festival has a long history. In ancient China, emperors followed the rite of offering sacrifices to the sun in spring and to the moon in autumn. Historical books of the Zhou Dynasty had had the word "Mid-Autumn". Later aristocrats and literary figures helped expand the ceremony to common people. They enjoyed the full, bright moon on that day, worshiped it and expressed their thoughts and feelings under it. By the Tang Dynasty (618-907),the Mid-Autumn Festival had been fixed, which became even grander in the Song Dynasty(960-1279).In the Ming (1368-1644)and Qing (1644-1911)dynasties, it grew to be a major festival of China.
Folklore about the origin of the festival go like this: In remote antiquity, there were ten suns rising in the sky, which scorched all crops and drove people into dire poverty. A hero named Hou Yi was much worried about this, he ascended to the top of the Kunlun Mountain and, directing his superhuman strength to full extent, drew his extraordinary bow and shot down the nine superfluous suns one after another. He also 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 on his way to the Kunlun Mountain to call on friends, he ran upon the Empress of Heaven Wangmu who was passing by. Empress 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 led his disciples to go hunting, Peng Meng, sword in hand, rushed into the inner chamber and 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 turned round to open her treasure box, took up the elixir and swallowed it in one gulp. As soon as she swallowed the elixir her body floated off the ground, dashed out of the window and flew towards heaven. Peng Meng escaped.
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.
There are many arguments about the origin of the Mid Autumn Festival. The term "Mid-Autumn Festival" was first seen in "Zhou Li", "Li Ji Yueling" said: "The Moon of the Mid-Autumn Festival nourishes senility, eating porridge.
It is said that it originated from the sacrifices of ancient emperors. "Book of Rites" records: "the Son of Heaven Spring, autumn evening moon," the evening moon is a sacrifice to the moon, indicating that as early as the Spring and Autumn Period, the emperor has begun to sacrifice the moon, worship the moon. Later, aristocrats and literati also followed suit and gradually spread to the public.
Two, the origin of the Mid Autumn Festival is related to agricultural production. Autumn is the harvest season. The word "autumn" is interpreted as: "the crops are ripe for autumn". The Mid-Autumn Festival is a festival for farmers to celebrate the harvest and express their joy. "Mid-Autumn Festival" means the middle of autumn. The August of the lunar calendar is the middle of autumn, and the 15th of the lunar calendar is the middle of this month. So the Mid-Autumn Festival may be a custom inherited from the "autumn newspaper" of the ancients.
Some historians have also pointed out that the origin of the Mid-Autumn Festival should be the late Sui Dynasty and Tang Dynasty Army in August 15, 13, the cause of the Tang Dynasty, General Pei Jing to the moon as a concept, the successful invention of moon cakes, and widely distributed in the army as a salary, successfully solve the problem of military food derived from the absorption of the Rebels.
Since ancient times, the Mid-Autumn Festival has the custom of offering sacrifices to the moon, appreciating the moon, worshipping the moon, eating moon cakes, appreciating Sweet scented osmanthus, drinking Sweet scented osmanthus wine and so on, which has been circulated for a long time. The Mid-Autumn Festival symbolizes the reunion of people by the full moon. It is a rich and precious cultural heritage for people who miss their hometown, their loved ones and hope for a bumper harvest and happiness. Mid Autumn Festival and Dragon Boat Festival, Spring Festival and Tomb Sweeping Day are also known as the four traditional festivals in China.
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