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Mid-Autumn Festival: The moon complex of Chinese people

moon.jpg


In Chinese minds, the moon is associated with gentleness and brightness, expressing the beautiful yearnings of the Chinese. On the 15th day of the 8th month of the lunar calendar, the moon is full and it is time to mark the Moon Festival, or the Mid-Autumn Festival. The round shape symbolizes family reunion. Therefore the day is a holiday for family members to get together and enjoy the full moon – an auspicious token of abundance, harmony, and luck.

在中国人心里,月亮总是与"温柔""明亮"这些词联系在一起的,这样的联想表达了中国人美好的祈望。中国人在农历八月十五日过中秋节,这是一个家人团聚赏月的节日,因为圆圆的月亮象征着阖家团圆。"满月"在中国文化中是一个象征丰饶、和谐和幸运的吉祥符号。

 

The Customs of sacrificing the Moon

中秋祭月的习俗

 

From the royalty to the populace, it is an important custom to sacrifice to and appreciate the moon during the Mid-Autumn Festival.

从王公贵族到平民百姓,中秋祭月和赏月都是非常重要的习俗。

 

During the Mid-Autumn Festival, sons and daughters come back to their parents' house. Sometimes people who have settled overseas will return to visit their parents. Adults will usually indulge in fragrant moon cakes of different varieties with a good cup of piping hot Chinese tea, while the little ones run around with brightly-lit lanterns. After nightfall, entire families go out under the stars for a walk or picnics, looking up at the full silver moon, thinking of their nearby relatives or friends, as well as those who are far from home. A line from a verse "The moon at the home village is exceptionally brighter" expresses those feelings. It can also be a romantic night for lovers, who sit holding hands on riverbanks and park benches, enraptured by the brightest moon of the year.

在中秋节期间,漂泊在外的儿女将会回到父母家中,有时即使是已经定居异国他乡的人们也会回来。大人们通常会就着热茶享受各种口味的月饼,孩子们则提着灯笼跑来跑去。夜幕降临之后,全家人都会走出屋子,一边在星光下散步或是野餐,一边抬头观赏银色的满月,思念着亲朋好友,还有离家未归的人。中国的一句古诗"月是故乡明"就表达了这种对家乡和亲人的思念之情。对情侣来说这也是个浪漫的夜晚。恋人们坐在河堤或公园长椅上,手牵着手,陶醉在一年中最明亮的月光里。

 

To celebrate this sighting of the moon, red plastic lanterns wrought in traditional styles and embellished with traditional motifs are prepared for the occasion. The lanterns are made in traditional shapes such as rabbits, goldfish, carps, butterflies and lobsters.

为了庆祝这个节日,人们会挂起按照传统式样制作和装饰的灯笼。灯笼的形状通常有兔子,金鱼,鲤鱼,蝴蝶,龙虾等等。

 

There is a saying in Chinese that marriages are made in heaven and prepared on the moon. The man who does the preparing is the old man of the moon (Yue Lao). He is the one heavenly person who knows everyone's future partners, and nobody can fight the decisions written down in his book. He is one reason why the moon is so important in Chinese mythology and especially at the time of the Moon Festival. Everybody, including children, hikes up high mountains or hills or onto open beaches to view the moon in the hope that he will grant their wishes.

在中国有一种说法,叫做 "姻缘天注定"。为人们定下姻缘的就是传说中的"月下老人"。月老是知晓人间每个人未来伴侣的神仙,没有人能违抗在他的"姻缘簿"中定下的缘分。月老也是月亮在中国神话中——尤其是中秋节时——如此重要的原因之一。中秋节时,每个人,包括小孩子,都会到山顶或河滩去向月亮许愿,希望能有一份美满的姻缘。

 

Contrary to what most people believe, this festival probably has less to do with harvest festivities than with the philosophically minded Chinese of old. The union of man's spirit with nature in order to achieve perfect harmony was the fundamental canon of Taoism, so much so that contemplation of nature was a way of life.

与许多人的认知相反,中秋节也许跟庆祝丰收没什么关系,而是更多地跟古代中国人的哲学观念联系在一起。道家的基本思想就是通过人与自然精神上的合一来达到圆满和谐,因此对自然的冥想已经成为了人们的一种生活方式。

2016-06-22

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