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National Day and Moon Cake Festival

September 30th, 2009

Dear clients,

Thank you very much for your support and concern. This year, October 1st, 2009 marks the 60th anniversary of the founding of People’s Republic of China. And also we will have our traditional festival-Mid-Autumn day, also known as Moon Festival. And these two great events just happen to join together. So we will have a two day holiday from October 1st to October 2nd, October 2nd is our Mid-Autumn day. Mid-Autumn day, in another word, just like your Thanks giving day .It’s a time for family reunion .Now we’d like to give you a full view and introduction about this traditional festival in China.

Mid-Autumn Festival
The joyous Mid-Autumn Festival, the third and last festival for the living, was celebrated on the fifteenth day of the eighth moon, around the time of the autumn equinox. Many referred to it simply as the "Fifteenth of the Eighth Moon". In the Western calendar, the day of the festival usually occurred sometime between the second week of September and the second week of October.

The round moon cakes, measuring about three inches in diameter and one and a half inches in thickness, resembled Western fruitcakes in taste and consistency. These cakes were made with melon seeds, lotus seeds, almonds, minced meats, bean paste, orange peels and lard. A golden yolk from a salted duck egg was placed at the center of each cake, and the golden brown crust was decorated with symbols of the festival. Traditionally, thirteen moon cakes were piled in a pyramid to symbolize the thirteen moons of a "complete year," that is, twelve moons plus one intercalary moon.

mc Moon Cakes
There is this story about the moon-cake. During the Yuan dynasty (A.D. 1280-1368) China was ruled by the Mongolian people. Leaders from the preceding Sung dynasty (A.D. 960-1280) were unhappy at submitting to the foreign rule, and set how to coordinate the rebellion without being discovered. The leaders of the rebellion, knowing that the Moon Festival was drawing near, ordered the making of special cakes. Backed into each moon caked was a message with the outline of the attack. On the night of the Moon Festival, the rebels successfully attached and overthrew the government. Today, moon cake is eaten to commemorate this legend and was called the Moon Cake.

For generations, moon cakes have been made with sweet fillings of nuts, mashed red beans, lotus-seed paste or Chinese dates, wrapped in a pastry. Sometimes a cooked egg yolk can be found in the middle of the rich tasting dessert. People compare moon cakes to the plum pudding and fruit cakes which are served in the English holiday seasons.

Nowadays, there are hundreds varieties of moon cakes on sale a month before the arrival of Moon Festival.

Leg Legends
There are many beautiful legends about the moon in China. The most popular one tells how a goddess named Chang’e ascended to the moon.

A long, long time ago, a terrible drought plagued the earth. Ten suns burned fiercely in the sky like smoldering volcanoes. The trees and grass were scorched. The land was cracked and parched, and rivers ran dry. Many people died of hunger and thirst.

The King of Heaven sent Hou Yi down to the earth to help. When Hou Yi arrived, he took out his red bow and white arrows and shot down nine suns one after another. The weather immediately turned cooler. Heavy rains filled the rivers with fresh water and the grass and trees turned green. Life had been restored and humanity was saved.

One day, a charming young woman, Chang’e makes her way home from a stream, holding a bamboo container. A young man comes forward, asking for a drink. When she sees the red bow and white arrows hanging from his belt, Chang’e realizes that he is their savior, Hou Yi. Inviting him to drink, Chang’e plucks a beautiful flower and gives it to him as a token of respect. Hou Yi, in turn, selects a beautiful silver fox fur as his gift for her. This meeting kindles the spark of their love. And soon after that, they get married.

A mortal’s life is limited, of course. So in order to enjoy his happy life with Chang’e forever, Hou Yi decides to look for an elixir of life. He goes to the Kunlun Mountains where the Western Queen Mother lives.

Out of respect for the good deeds the has done, the Western Queen Mother rewards Hou Yi with elixir, a fine powder made from kernels of fruit which grows on the tree of eternity. At the same time, she tells him: If you and your wife share the elixir, you will both enjoy eternal life. But if only one of you takes it, that one will ascend to Heaven and become immortal.

Hou Yi returns home and tells his wife all that has happened and they decide to drink the elixir together on the 15th day of the eighth lunar month when the moon is full and bright.

A wicked and merciless man named Feng Meng secretly hears about their plan. He wishes Hou Yi an early death so that he can drink the elixir himself and become immortal. His opportunity finally arrives. One day, when the full moon is rising, Hou Yi is on his way home from hunting. Feng Meng kills him. The murderer then runs to Hou Yi’s home and forces Chang’e to give him the elixir, without hesitating, Chang’e picks up the elixir and drinks it all.

Overcome with grief, Chang’e rushes to her dead husband’s side, weeping bitterly. Soon the elixir begins to have its effect and Chang’e feels herself being lifted towards Heaven.

Chang’e decides to live on the moon because it is nearest to the earth. There she lives a simple and contented life. Even though she is in Heaven, her heart remains in the world of mortals. Never does she forget the deep love she has for Hou Yi and the love she feels for the people who have shared their sadness and happiness.

Thank you much for your support and understandings. We really appreciate it very much.
Best Regards,
Bpovia
September 29th, 2009

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