|Holidays||Celebrate in September and October!|
Come celebrate with us in each issue as we explore the many holidays celebrated in Asian countries each month!
The Folklore of World Holidays
by Margaret Read McDonald, Editor. Gale Research Inc., 1992
"Autumn is Coming"Japanese paintings by Tomoko Kajiura from SHO-SEN-KA (a tiny fancy flower) gallery. September 1998
* * * August through September * * *
Photrobot, Twelfth Day Waning Moon
The fifteen days of the waning moon of Photrobot are reserved for rituals for the dead. The overcast sky during this rainy season signifies the fifteen-day period when Yama, God of the Underworld, releases the souls to visit among the living. If these visitors do no find proper offerings at the shrines, they might cause bad occurrences for their families. This period is called Kan-Ben. Ben refers to the rice balls offered to the dead.
Ben, made of glutinous rice mixed with coconut milk and other ingredients, are arranged on a platter around a centerpiece, the bay baton, which is placed on a pedestal. Flags, flowers, and joss sticks decorate the top.
Source: "La Quinzaine des Morts" in Ceremonies des Douze Moise. Translated by editor. Commission Des Moeurs St Coutumbres Du Cambodge, no date, pp. 47-56.
This day commemorates the dead.
This day originated from Buddha's commandment to honor the dead with gifts, prayers, and thoughts. Gifts are given to the sangha.
Source: Laos: A Country Study by Donald P. Whitaker et al. Foreign Area Studies. Washington, D.C.: The American University, 1971, p. 122.
Moon 8, Day 15
On this day, Thai-im niu-niu, the Goddess of the Moon, is honored. Mooncakes are eaten and given to friends. The full moon is viewed in the evening.
Festival of the Moon
During the Festival of the Moon (or Harvest Festival in Western countries), moon-cakes are sold. The full moon is greeted with much ceremony, and the night of its brightest appearance is passed in feasting and rejoicing. As the moon becomes full, the Chinese eye visualizes a man who is climbing a tree.
Feast of Lanterns
The Feast of Lanterns follows. After nightfall, men and boys carrying brilliantly colored lanterns of birds, fish and other fantastic shapes, with lit candles inside, form a procession. Sandalwood is burned and carried in small movable pavilions, while bands of music mingle with the applause of spectators and the jokes of the men in the procession.
Last of all an immense and horrifying dragon about forty feet in length is borne along supported on bamboo poles by a dozen or more men.
Source: When I Was a Boy in China by Yan Phou Lee. Boston: Lothrop, Lee & Shepard Co., 1887, pp. 78- 80.
In traditional China, the Mid-Autumn Festival was especially a woman's celebration, befitting the essentially female (Yin) moon. In each family, a special table is set up facing the moon out of the doors with dishes of round fruit (symbolizing the fullness of the moon) such as apples, oranges, peaches, or pomegranates (the last being particularly propitious since their many seeds symbolize many sons) and, of course, mooncakes. Rice, wine and tea are also offered, together with several suits of paper clothing and many ingots of spirit money in gold and silver paper.
From 7:00 p.m. onwards in Victoria Park, Causeway Bay, and Stanley Beach, many families picnic quietly, surrounded by lit candles and small lanterns.
The moon's birthday is an occasion to consult the future and, since she influences matrimonial prospects, young ladies burn sticks of incense and hide behind gates, hoping for an answer to their fate in the conversations of passers-by, their answer being deduced from the first phrase they hear. Most requests have some bearing on matrimonial prospects, and are addressed to Yueh Lao-yeh, old man in the moon, who shares the moon with the Rabbit and Three-Legged Toad.
In wealthier households, moon-viewing parties are arranged with a banquet at midnight, when the moon is high in the sky. Often at these parties blind musicians sing the famous poems of Li T'ai Po, and lanterns and candles glow with soft light in this outdoor celebration.
Sources: Chinese Festivals in Hong Kong by Joan Law and Barbara E. Ward. Hong Kong: A South China Morning Post Production, 1982, p. 68.
The fifteenth of the Eighth Moon is Hangawi or Chusok (Autumn Night). This is the fairest of the twelve full moons. Families visit the hills for a day of outdoor sports. Wine, cakes, and fresh fruits are enjoyed and offered at family shrines. Graves are visited and contests of wrestling and hemp-spinning are held. If the grain is not ripe yet, the festival may be postponed to the ninth day of the Ninth Moon.
Source: Folk Customs and Family Life by Tae Hung Ha. Seoul, Korea: Yonsei, 1958, pp. 44-45.
Mooncakes, a mixture of fruit and other sweets wrapped in a thin crust in the shape of a full moon, are eaten. The T'u-ti Kung, god of the soil, one's employer, and foreign friends are presented with a box of mooncakes for this occasion. These are also exchanged with relatives and friends during the days preceding the Autumn festival.
On the night of the 15th, each family lights four lanterns, hanging two on either side of the "kong" incense pot, in the main hall of the home. Two of these large lanterns bear the family name usually with the inscription "may boys increase," while the other two lanterns commemorated the marriage of the mother and father of the family. The banner of the eight immortals is hung over the hall and the whole family gathers for a banquet.
Source: Taiwan Feasts and Customs by Michael R. Saso. Hsinchu, Taiwan: Chabanel Language Institute, pp. 70-71.
|Table of Contents About Us Contact Us Home|