Sunday, September 30, 2012

August Moon

August? Aren't we in September?

Yes, this photo of tonight's Miami moon is what is called the August Moon. Actually, I am one day late as this moon was full yesterday, and I should have talked about this then but I forgot about this event. Better late than never.

So, what is this business of calling a moon on the last day of September an August Moon? It is because if you use the lunar calendar, you are still in August, and this is the time of an important harvest festival called the Mid-Autumn festival. Also known as the Moon Festival or Mooncake Festival or Zhongqiu Festival, it is a popular lunar harvest festival celebrated by China and Vietnam. This annual rite can be traced back to more than 3,000 years ago and this festival is held on the 15th day of the eighth month in the lunar calendar when the moon is full. This date occurs in late September or early October in the Gregorian calendar, close to the autumnal equinox.

This festival is accompanied by many traditional activities such as:

Eating mooncakes, traditionally consisting primarily of lotus bean paste - I like that!
Drinking tea - Definitely!
Matchmaking. In some parts of China, dances are held for young men and women to find partners. "One by one, young women are encouraged to throw their handkerchiefs to the crowd. The young man who catches and returns the handkerchief has a chance of romance." - I need this!
Carrying brightly lit lanterns, lighting lanterns on towers, floating sky lanterns - Been there! Done that!
Burning incense in reverence to deities including Chang'e, the Moon Goddess of Immortality who lives in the moon - Only if the incense has true lotus scent.
Fire Dragon Dances. Definitely! In case you do not know, my name Lân represents this dragon - It's me!

When I was a kid, I read the story of a rabbit up there living in the moon because there is a shape that, if you have better than average imagination, looks like a rabbit. Of course you see no such rabbit in my shot of today. I should have used my telescope! Rats!
Trung Thu

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