HUAIROU, Beijing Province:
Had the day off today for a National Holiday: Mid-Autumn Festival, or more popularly known as 'Moon Day'!
From what I can gather, and it's been an uphill struggle to find out anything - it's a festival to celebrate the end of the harvesting season, and Chinese people eat Moon Cake. I found a few different versions of the story behind Mid-Autumn festival, but this is my favourite:
"Once upon a time, the Earth had ten Suns, which took turns to illuminate the world. One day, however, all ten Suns assembled around the Earth. Their presence destroyed all vegetation, and hundreds of thousands of people were perishing. The Emperor, who was desperate, decided to offer his crown to anyone who could shoot down the Suns.
Houyi was a lazy boy who did nothing but practice his archery. He practiced day and night until he became the greatest archer in the world. Houyi decided to answer the Emporer's call. He shot down nine of the suns, and as he pulled his bow to shoot the last one, the Emperor stopped him, saying the Earth must have one Sun.
Houyi then became the Emperor. He was pampered to the extent that he wanted to be Emperor forever. He called his advisors to look for a way to make him immortal.
His advisors found a way, they found a recipe for the Pill of Immortality. It required 100 adolescent boys to be ground down to make the pill. Every night he was supposed to grind one boy.
On the hundredth night, his wife Chang'e could not bear to watch her husband become the tyrannical dictator for eternity. She prayed to Xi Wang Mu for help. She stole the pill, and with Houyi shooting arrows at her, she flew to the moon grabbing a rabbit to keep her company.
So, the Chinese say that if you look up at the moon, to this day, you can sometimes see a rabbit making moon cakes."
How brilliant is that story?!