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Friday, October 6, 2006

Happy Mid-Autumn Festival




This weekend is the Mid-Autumn Festival which is hold once every year on the 15th day of the 8th month of Chinese lunar calendar. Everybody is eating mooncakes, drinking tea and lanterns are all around. So I want to share with you:


 


Moon's Stories


 


"As the sun sets, the moon rises. And little people play on every moonbeam, sprinkling their sparkling moon dust down onto all humankind."


The moon. It is the second brightest object in the sky after the sun. It orbits the earth one time each month. We can see the progress of its orbit because it changes shape. Once a month we see a bright full moon. As each day of the month ends we see the moon become smaller and smaller until it is just a small sliver in the sky.


Since the beginning of history people have wondered about the moon. Under the light of the moon people create stories about it. Many cultures tell stories about the moon. They wonder about its uses and its purpose. Some even wondered about the people that live in it!


 


The Inuit people believe in a moon spirit named Tarqeq. Inuits live in the far north where the earth is always cold. Tarqeq is a mighty hunter. And he lives on the moon.


Tarqeq has a very hard job. He must watch over human behaviour on earth. He warns the people who believe in him to behave morally. At night Tarqeq shines down over all the land. He watches all the people.


But during the day the moon sets. And Tarqeq sleeps. He cannot watch over the people because his light is not as strong. While he sleeps the people of the land begin to misbehave. They act badly. Each night Tarqeq's job starts over. He must warn the people again to act morally.


 


Chang O is the Chinese moon goddess. She is known as the woman in the moon. But she did not always live on the moon. Here is the Chinese story of Chang O.


Chang O lived long ago in the days when there were ten suns in the sky. The bright suns were the children of the Jade King. The earth was very dry. And many people died because of the ten suns in the sky. The Jade King wanted his children to rise up and away from the earth. So he asked the Chinese god Hou Yi to ask the suns to leave the earth. But the suns refused to leave.


The god Hou Yi was very angry at the suns. So, he decided to shoot them out of the sky with arrows. He began to shoot the suns one by one out of the sky. Hou Yi's wife, goddess Chang O, saw what was going on. She ran to Hou Yi and stopped his shooting. She asked him to leave just one sun in the sky to keep the earth warm and bright. Hou Yi's actions made the Jade King angry. He had not asked Hou Yi to shoot his children with arrows! So, he punished Hou Yi and Chang O. He said they had to stay on earth for the rest of their lives.


But Chang O did not like earth. She was very unhappy. Hou Yi tried to make her happy. He gathered special plants that would give them power. Then they would be able to leave earth. But Chang O was so angry that she ate all of the special plants herself.


She flew up to the moon. And there she lives, alone.


And, she is still very angry with Hou Yi!


 


This African story tells how the moon came to live in the sky. Long ago the moon lived on the earth. One day the moon invited water to visit his home. Water came to Moon's house. Moon's house became flooded with water. Water made Moon lose his light. Moon was going to die. He had to find a new home. A home that was safe from Water. So Moon found his new home in the sky. And there his light continues to shine.


 


There are many stories about the moon. The moon represents different things to different people groups. To some people it represents death, or birth, or males, or females. To other people it represents man's ambition, or desires. Some people even believe that the moon keeps everything that people waste on earth. So, if you were trying to visit the moon you would see all of peoples' wasted time. You would see wasted human tears, unfulfilled desires, and wasted gifts.


As you have heard there are many stories about the moon, its uses, its purpose, and how it came to be in the sky. Christians believe that God created the moon. They also believe that all of creation has a very special purpose. Here is the moon's creation story and its purpose.


 


God was creating the earth. He had already separated the water from the land. There was sky, dry land, and seas. Then God created the sun and the moon.


And God said, "Let there be lights in the huge space of the sky. Let them separate the day from the night. Let them serve as signs to mark off the seasons and the days and the years. Let them serve as lights in the huge space of the sky to give light on the earth." And that is exactly what happened. God made two great lights. He made the larger light to rule over the day. He made the smaller light to rule over the night. He also made the stars. God saw that it was good. And there was evening, and there was morning on the fourth day.


 


So, what is the purpose of creation? What is it for?


 


Well, the Bible can answer that question. In the Bible it says,


"The heavens declare the glory of God; the skies show that his hands created them. Day after day they speak about it. Night after night they make it known. But they do not speak or use words. No sound is heard from them. At the same time, their voice goes out into the whole earth. Their words go out from one end of the world to the other."


 


Each night the moon shines. It shines from one end of the world to the other. It is declaring the glory of God.