It’s the Mid-Autumn Festival 中秋节 | 中秋節 (zhōngqiū jié), one of the most beloved Chinese celebrations—where we eat mooncakes (now available in a bewildering variety of flavours), sip tea, recite poetry and admire the moon. If you’re in Singapore and Malaysia, you’ll also be toting beautifully-decorated lanterns, and in Taiwan, you’re probably having a barbecue with friends, thanks to a clever marketing campaign!
LET’S DRAW A MOONCAKE!
There are, of course, many, many different designs, styles and flavours of mooncakes nowadays, but let’s try drawing a traditional Cantonese-style mooncake.
LET’S DRAW ANOTHER MOONCAKE!
Had fun drawing your mooncake? Let’s try another version… with some of its filling (white lotus paste 莲蓉 and a salted egg yolk 咸蛋) peeking out!
Here are some Mid-Autumn Festival-themed comic strips we did for a special session with Anglo-Chinese School (Junior) in Singapore, presented here in both English and Mandarin.
MID-AUTUMN FESTIVAL LEGENDS
The legend of Chang’E 嫦娥 Cháng’é, the Moon Maiden. Chang’E was married to Houyi, a heroic archer who was rewarded with immortality pills after he saved the world from burning when he shot down 9 extra suns that had appeared in the sky. When Houyi’s evil apprentice tried to grab the pills for himself, Chang’E swallowed them first. Becoming immortal, she flew to the Moon. The lunar probes sent by the People’s Republic of China’s space programme are all named after her.
Many cultures (China, Japan, India, Korea, Sri Lanka, Cambodia, Thailand, Vietnam, Myanmar and even the Mayans and Aztecs) have a legend about an immortal rabbit who dwells on the Moon. In Chinese mythology, the rabbit is called the Jade Rabbit 玉兔 Yùtù, and it apparently pounds medicine for the immortals. It is said to have been given this honour after offering its own flesh to the Jade Emperor, who was in disguise as a starving beggar. In later tellings, Yutu becomes a companion for Chang’E.
靜夜思 by 李白
Here’s our version of the famous poem by the Tang Dynasty poet Li Bai that’s often recited during the Mid-Autumn Festival!
Li Bai’s original version goes like this:
靜夜思 Jìng Yè Sī
[quiet] [night] [think]
Quiet Night Thoughts
床前明月光 Chuáng qián míng yuè guāng
[bed] [front] [bright] [moon] [light]
Bright moonlight at the foot of my bed;
疑是地上霜 Yí shì dìshàng shuāng
[suspect] [is] [ground] [on] [frost]
I suspect it is frost on the ground.
举头望明月 Jǔ tóu wàng míng yuè
[raise] [head] [look] [bright] [moon]
I raise my head to see the bright moon,
低头思故乡 Dītóu sī gùxiāng
[lower] [head] [think of] [old] [home village]
then lower it, thinking of my hometown.
LET’S DRAW SOME SILLY MOONCAKES!
Okay, time to get silly, like in our Doodle Dates! What happens when you mix food 食物 shíwù … with superheroes 超级英雄 chāojí yīngxióng? Since it’s the Mid-Autumn Festival, what happens when you mashup a Mooncake月饼 (yuèbǐng) with the amazing Spider-Man 蜘蛛人 zhīzhū rén? You get… Spider-Mooncake! 蜘蛛月饼人 zhīzhū yuèbǐng rén!
Like Japanese anime? Well, there’s no better super-heroine for the Mid-Autumn Festival 中秋节 (zhōngqiū jié) than this mashup of a Mooncake月饼 (yuèbǐng) with the legendary Sailor Moon 水手月亮 (shuǐshǒu yuèliàng): SAILOR MOONCAKE 水手月饼shuǐshǒu yuèbǐng!