中秋節必知傳奇人物是她!「嫦娥奔月」伴新住民過節 | The lady on the moon: Heartbreaking story behind Mid-Autumn Festival unveiled

Chang E is a central figure of the story regarding Mid-Autumn Festival. (Photo courtesy of Shutterstock)

【看CP學英文】當滿月的光輝撒在大地上時,烤肉架將在台灣各處重見天日。家家戶戶、親朋好友會聚集在頂樓、公園甚至是騎樓下。在火焰和烤肉飄逸的香味中,熱鬧的聊天聲將隨之起舞。而大家的眼神也會時不時向天上望去,欣賞一年中最圓、最亮的月。

As the full moon wraps the Earth in its silver glow, the barbeque grills come out. Families and friends gather on rooftops, in some parks, and even on sidewalks. The conversation keeps pace with the sizzling flames as the smell of grilled meat and vegetable takes to the air.

Eyes gaze skyward to observe the moon in its glory.

這就是在台灣中秋節中會看到的景象。這個節日通常落於農曆第八個月的第15天,而今年這個日子就是新曆的9月21日。這一天,月亮將會以一年中最圓、最亮的方式呈現高掛天際。

Such are the scenes in Taiwan during Mid-Autumn Festival, also known as Moon Festival. The festival is celebrated on the 15th day of the eighth lunar month — Sept. 21 this year. It is the day of the autumnal equinox when the moon is the fullest and brightest.

中秋節是親朋好友團聚的好時光,大部分的家庭都會藉此往戶外移動以便賞月。這個節日中重要的活動包括吃代表和諧和團圓的月餅,在圓月下漫步,吃柚子(因其有「佑子」的諧音,蘊意關照),有吉祥之意。

Moon Festival is one for reunions and families and friends generally go outdoors, where they can admire the moon in its beauty. Important activities on this special occasion, include eating moon cakes, which symbolize unity and togetherness; strolling under the full moon; and eating pomelos, since the Chinese term for this citrus fruit, which sounds like the Chinese words for “care and protection.”

這個節日可追溯到中國古代,而至今許多故事也留傳下來。在台灣,雖然細節有些出入,最有名的典故必定是后羿和嫦娥的故事。

The festival has a long history, dating back to ancient China and several accounts of its origin have survived. In Taiwan, the most popular version is an account of Hou Yi and his wife, Chang E (嫦娥) —  although the exact details vary.

傳說中,后羿因將燒掉人們的作物導致他們陷入貧困中的9個太陽,以箭將他們從天上射掉,為此贏得了長生不死的藥。

According to legend, Hou Yi won the elixir of immortality after he shot out of the sky nine suns that were scorching crops and driving people into dire poverty and ordering the remaining sun to rise and set according to time.

然而,有於后羿不想要背棄妻子,並委託嫦娥幫他守著仙丹。心懷不軌的蓬蒙卻看到嫦娥將仙丹藏起來,並趁著后羿出外打獵時以劍威嚇嫦娥交出仙丹。嫦娥知道自己打不過蓬蒙,便將藥吃下肚,身子為立刻飛向天上,意外成仙。

However, not wanting to leave his wife behind, Hou Yi gave her the elixir for safekeeping. Peng Meng saw where Chang E hid the elixir and waited until Hou Yi went hunting and used a sword to demand that Chang E hand over the portion. Chang E, knowing that she could not defeat Peng Meng, drank the elixir and turned into a celestial being.

當人民聽到這個故事後,他們將擺滿食物的桌子放置在月光下,並為好心腸的嫦娥祈福,也就慢慢延伸成眾所皆知的中秋節。

When people heard of the story, they arranged incense tables in the moonlight and prayed to kind-hearted Chang E for good fortune and peace, leading to what is now Moon Festival.