The Archer, The Curious Wife and The Encoded Cake

A couple of weeks ago, Harshad candidly asked me what is the origin of the Chinese Mid Autumn Festival. I told him 3 stories about the origin of this highly-celebrated festival. Of course, I googled on my iPhone to make sure I got my base right. Here are my versions to him (and those who forgot about our origins).

The Heavenly Archer "Houyi" (后羿) 

He may be China’s only hope to win Olympic Archery Gold. Back to the time before all time, Earth was certainly in deeper shit than our current Global Warming. Mr Heavenly Jade Master had 10 sons (suns) and Earth was as hot as Hell! So, Mr Jade summoned his best shooter, Houyi (who was immortal) to take down his own flesh and blood suns (aka sons). How successful Houyi was, he took down all 9 suns. Instead of rewarding Houyi for his accomplishment, Jade regretted the death of his 9 sons. He banished Houyi and his beautiful wife, Chang-er to Earth.

The Curious Wife "Chang-er"

Back on Earth, both ex-ImMortals wanted to go back to their Heavenly Life. One day, a Fairy gave Houyi an ImMortal Pill and instructed him to share 50-50% with his wife. Houyi put the pill in a box. One day, his curious wife saw the box and opened it. She saw a pill inside. (Man, what was she thinking?) Without knowing the effect of this pill, she swallowed the entire pill! More powerful than Ectasy, the pill gave her a super high feeling. Literally, she was floating high into the air…higher and higher into the clouds and out of space!

Houyi saw his flyaway wife. He had 2 options – Shoot her down or let her moonwalk on the moon. Guess he had no choice but to let Chang-er go. There was no return for this immortal wife. (There wasn’t any Apollo Flight to the Moon yet). Legend says they only get to meet each other every year on the 15th of the Eighth Month – when the moon is closest to Earth and brightest of all time. What about the bunnie? It was there on the moon even before Chang-er arrived. The Bunnie has nothing to do with this festival. It may be a retailer’s decision. Imagine eating Chang-er’s FaceCake or BodyCake. IT is cuter having a Bunnie Cake instead.

The Encoded Cake

The people wanted to rebel against the Mongolian kingdom. And back in those days, there is no handphone or internet. The Chinese Rebels invented a clever way of communication. Since the Mongolians don’t eat mooncake, the Chinese put secret code messages inside Mooncakes and circulated around the masses. The message was simply "Kill All the Bloody Mongols on the 15th of the Eighth Month!" The movement was successful – the Rebels threw out the Mongols. What a clever move!!! Beating the horny Mongols when they were having their kinky full-moon night! (Maybe that is how Osama is able to escape the US Army everytime! Maybe he operates out of Roti-Prata!)

The Chinese isn’t the only nationality celebrating this day. The Korean also celebrate the 15th of the Eighth Month – as it is their Autumn Harvest Festival Day (Hangawee (한가위). The Vietnamese celebrate this day, lighting up lanterns to guide another lost ImMortal "Cuội" (Man on the Moon) back to Earth. (That must be a very very big lantern for Cuội to see from the moon!)
For me, it is just another great holiday for us to reunite with our family and friends. And this must be a great month for the retailers! Imagine the profit margins of a mooncake and plastic lantern! Out of convenience, the world may want to coincide Earth Hour on this very day. Everyone can now carry lanterns! And Houyi can be the mascot for Green Earth. (He gave up his immortality and his curious wife to save Earth, didn’t he?)

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