BAGUIO CITY (Sept. 30) — October 6, 2006 is a day to look forward to among the Chinese, and the Filipinos alike, when this year’s Moon Festival unfolds.
Filipino-Chinese community here will celebrate the Moon Festival at the Supreme Hotel with fun fare, according to Dr. Charles Cheng.
Also called mid-autumn festival, this celebrates the time of year when the moon is at its brightest and roundest state, according to Cheng as he shares the most popular legend of the moon festival.
“This is the time for family reunions where members exchange gifts of round objects. A table facing the rising moon is filled with round-shaped fruits, dumplings, moon cakes, wines, tea, fish and other delicacies,” Cheng said.
Moon cake, a favorite Chinese pastry served with tea, comes in variety in red or black beans, mongo, plain with egg or lotus paste or cream paste with mixed nuts. Cheng said it symbolizes unity and oneness.
According to the Chinese, the moon festival started 5000 years ago in China with the reign of the legendary emperor Huang Di, who imbibed among his constituents the belief that in order to maintain good health and good human spirit, man must interact and live in harmony with the four seasons: spring for renewal and growing; summer for luxurious growth and strengthening; autumn for ripening and harvest; and Winter for closing, hibernating and storing.
The mid-autumn is that time of year when the fields are fragrant with ripening grains and trees bear fruits, and an abundant harvest calls for celebration, according to the legend.
Among Cheng’s favorite, however, is the 12th century anecdote when China was still under the Mongols who subjected the Han people (now the Chinese) to slavery and cruelty. According to the Chinese history, a peasant leader named Zhu Yan Zhang during the Yuan Dynasty (1279-1368) employed the celebration to overthrow the abusive Mongols.
Zhu reportedly started the Chinese Revolution by passing moon cakes with secret messages written on a piece of paper. All those who received the message eventually joined the revolution, which liberated the Hans from the Mongols and gave rise to the Ming Dynasty (1368-1644) that Zhu founded.
The moon Festival is among the more popular Chinese celebrations, falling on the 15th day of the 8th month of the Chinese lunar calendar. The most popular of these celebrations is the Chinese New Year or the Spring Festival which usually falls on February in the Gregorian Calendar.
Igorot Moon Calendar
Peasants in the Cordillera also refer to the position of the moon, but not necessarily depend on it for the agricultural cycle. Cheng, however, claims that some communities in the Cordillera schedule their farming and rituals on the four phases of the moon, namely first quarter beska; full moon teke; last quarter bakas; and new moon lenned.
The Baguio-Filipino Cantonese Association-Cordillera leads the annual Moon Festival celebration. Among the more prominent descendants of the Cantonese in the Cordillera, aside from Cheng, are Benguet Board Member John Kim, La Trinidad Mayor Nestor Fongwan, businessmen Peter Ng, Freddie Wong, Cristeta Leung, and Robert Lim. # Lyn V. Ramo for NORDIS