Mid-Autumn Revolution (in honor of the moon)

the moon over Taiwan

The Moon Festival, more commonly known as Mid-Autumn Festival (中秋節), is a holiday celebrated in Chinese culture and across much of Asia. The festival marks the fullest moon of the year as well as the season of great harvest.

As the ancient story goes, an archer named Hou Yi (后羿) once saved the earth and gained the potion of immortality. His wife/lover Chang’e (嫦娥) ends up drinking the potion and becomes the moon.

There are several versions of this story depicting the character of Chang’e ; in one, she is selfish and steals the potion for herself. In another, she drinks the potion to prevent someone else from forcibly taking it. In all versions, her fate is the same.

My birthday fell over the same weekend, and I spent the day exploring Taipei with a friend. After we parted ways, I was walking back to the train station when I saw a crowd of people looking up and taking pictures. I was expecting something grandiose like an art piece plastered to the side of a skyscraper, but to my surprise, it was only the moon— the same moon we see every night in the sky. The very bright, shiny, glorious moon. The romantic and mysterious moon. The pale circle in the sky. The Chinese goddess who drank a potion of immortality. The ball of orbiting rock.

In all versions, the moon is the same, but the way we conceptualize it is up to us. I can certainly look upon the past and tell my story with cynicism and regret; I can also look back at these previous versions of myself with self-love and compassion. Even if some of my past revolutions around the sun did not feel so kind to me, I know which one of these versions I would much rather tell.

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