The Moon Festival: A Chinese Mid-Autumn Celebration
Steve Pitt is a Toronto-based freelance writer and an award-winning journalist. He has written many young adult and children's books, including Day of the Flying Fox: The True Story of World War II Pilot Charley Fox.
Once upon a time, ten different suns used to take turns warming the
earth. One day, the suns emerged together and threatened to burn the
earth to a cinder with their combined heat. A great warrior named Hou Yi
picked up his bow and killed nine of the suns with arrows. For his
bravery, a Chinese goddess rewarded him with a potion that granted
eternal life to whoever drank it. Unfortunately, Hou Yi’s inquisitive
wife accidentally drank the potion first and found herself eternally
marooned on the moon. Hou Yi was devastated until another Chinese god
gave him a magic charm that allowed him to visit his wife once a year.
That visit occurs on the 15th day of the eighth month of the Chinese
calendar. On that day, the moon is always at its fullest and brightest
because the two separated lovers are reunited for one brief day.
The Moon Festival, an outstanding combination of fiction and
nonfiction, wonderfully captures the essence of the ancient Chinese
legend behind the Mid-Autumn Festival, a holiday celebrated by over a
billion Chinese people around the world. The book explains why Chinese
people use lanterns, bat-shaped treats, bean cakes, and poetry to mark
this occasion. Each page glows with a brilliant illustration. Highly