life of a cuddlebit

my random ramblings


Leave a comment

Mid-Autumn Festival (中秋节) stories

The only thing I am excited about in September is mid autumn festival. Love the dice game (even if I rarely win) as well as the mooncakes. I actually keep my favorite (lotus 1 egg/ made form lotus paste and with one duck egg) mooncake/s for breakfast, and eat another one come afternoon, as my afternoon snack.

Photo from thailandtatler

Photo from thailandtatler

As a child, I remember walking to a auntie neighbor’s house to see her making mooncakes, as she makes them to sell come mid autumn festival.  The smell of the cakes cooking wafting from her house is just yummy. I usually get a freshly baked mooncake from that auntie as a treat for keeping her company.

My mum and this auntie are friends. She even invites my Mum to cook with her. My mum usually declines and just buys lots of her mooncakes instead. This certain auntie tells me lots of stories regarding mooncake festival while she bakes.

Here are the stories/folklore told to me by our neighbor.

 

Chang E’s story (the moon goddess)

Chang E was a beautiful young girl working in the Jade Emperor’s palace in heaven, where immortals, good people and fairies lived. One day, she accidentally broke a precious porcelain jar. Angered, the Jade Emperor banished her to live on earth, where ordinary people lived. She could return to the Heaven, if she contributed a valuable service on earth.

Chang E was transformed into a member of a poor farming family. When she was 18, a young hunter named Hou Yi from another village spotted her, now a beautiful young woman. They became friends.

One day, a strange phenomenon occurred – 10 suns arose in the sky instead one one, scorching the earth. Hou Yi, an expert archer, stepped forward to try to save the earth. He successfully shot down nine of the suns, becoming an instant hero. He eventually became king and married Chang E.

 

But Hou Yi grew to become a tyrrant. He sought immortality by ordering an elixir be created to prolong his life. The elixir in the form of a single pill was almost ready when Chang E came upon it. She either accidentally or purposely swallowed the pill. This angered King Hou Yi, who went after his wife. Trying to flee, she jumped out the window of a chamber at the top of palace — and, instead of falling, she floated into the sky toward the moon.

King Hou Yi tried to shoot her down with arrows, but without success. Once on the moon, Chang E has only one companion, a (jade?) rabbit, is constantly pounding the elixir of immortality in a large mortar.

 

 

The story of the moon rabbit

The story goes about a god reincarnated into a poor old man and begged food from a fox, a monkey and a rabbit.

When an old man begged for food, the monkey gathered fruits from the trees and the otter collected fish, while the fox wrongfully pilfered a lizard and a pot of milk-curd. The rabbit, who knew only how to gather grass, instead offered its own body, throwing itself into a fire the man had built. The rabbit, however, was not burnt. The old man revealed himself to be a god  and, touched by the rabbit’s virtue, drew the likeness of the rabbit on the Moon for all to see.

Or the  alternate ending that, the god was so moved by the rabbit and sent it to the moon to become an immortal jade rabbit. Ever since, the jade rabbit stayed in the Moon Palace to accompany Chang E and pounded immortal medicine for those living in the heaven.

 

For today, I am going to see my grandama and the rest of the family  later to celebrate mid-autumn festival, and eat mooncakes.

 

*Try to look at the moon tonight, its at its roundest and brightest.

**Mid-autumn festival occurs every 15th day of the 8th month of the Chinese lunar calendar.


Leave a comment

rough crystal

I used to have a neighbor who collected rocks. He is older than me by 10 years (I think, I was only 9 back then.) and is named Erwin.

He always has a ready smile, is chubby, with a moody pet iguana.

I am fascinated by his rock collection that he proudly displays on his window. (He believes in crystal healing.) My best friend Joanna and I usually troop to his place to look as his box of rocks, its like a museum trip, he explains what the rocks are, where he got/brought them, the highlight of his collection was a amber with a prehistoric insect in it.

Most of his rocks are quartz crystals, that he gets from caves. They look like these:

rough quartz crystals

rough quartz crystals -photo from pinterest

While I like the crystals, I am fascinated by those that have color. I like the purples and pinks and those that have bright blue colors. I also discovered what geodes are.

Got to know a bunch of stones like ruby, sapphires, amethyst, moonstone, tiger’s eye, hematite, pyrite, opal, jade, turquoise, coral, lapis lazuli, cats eye, spinels, etc.  While we like going to his house to check out his collection, at times he thinks we are a nuisance, after all we stay there for hours, he never got angry at us.

rock collection -photo from etsy

somebody’s rock collection -photo from etsy

One summer day he announced that he was moving out. We were sad. Well not really that sad but sad in a way that we know, there ain’t going to be any looking at the rock collection anymore.

On the day he is going away, he handed out a goodbye present for Joanna and me. He gave us each a rough quartz crystal. Which we kept in a pouch and cleaned with saltwater once in a while. Till we forgot all about it.  And our attention was moved to beading with glass beads till we encountered the glittery Swarovski crystal beads, that we made into our bracelets.

Swarovski crystal beads

Swarovski crystal beads

I loved our crystal bling! Joanna and I went on to creating more shiny crystal bead pieces to wear,  that I seriously thought the crystal Erwin gave us was worthless. It doesn’t shine, it is rough and lets be honest here not as pretty as the polished and faceted crystals. But I kept it because of the sentimental/childhood treasure value. I rarely ever clean it anymore. Its been where I kept it for more than 15 years.

Till I saw a booth on the mall selling crystals. Quarts crystals like the ones Erwin used to collect. Like the crystal I have at home.

They were rough, but the are really shiny, I guess it was cleaned frequently. I stooped down to look at the rocks. The smallest quartz crystal was priced at 3,000+ php. I thought to myself, hey, my crystal is bigger than that…. so it means it is worth more.

Woah! It really was a treasure after all! Even without the flashy bling! Reminding me not to take everything at face value. 

the actual rough crystal that was given to me

the actual rough crystal that was given to me

Sad thing was, we never knew where Erwin went. We did not remember his surname, we cant even find him on facebook.

But really, Kuya Erwin, thank you for the gift and the life lesson. 

 

“There is all the difference in the world between treasure and money.” ― Roderick Townley, The Great Good Thing