Three Shining Ways to Celebrate Moon Festival!

20 Sep

Over the Moon (2020) - IMDbBy Ed Sum
(The Vintage Tempest)

The Moon Festival is nearly here in North America! It’s already started in China, and this annual mid-autumn event is big. Pandemic or not, close-knit families are likely to gather to observe the moon and give thanks much like the American holiday of Thanksgiving. The tradition came about circa 17th century and it only gained in popularity since. It’s also considered to be the second most important holiday in the Chinese calender (1) and some make the time a three-day celebration! I plan on catching three specific films to respect this aspect of the event.

Another aspect is ritualistic. This includes burning incense and releasing candle lit lanterns so they will float up into the night sky like an air balloon. The best made ones with a carefully hidden helium baloon can float up very high to resemble stars.

There’s plenty of other observances during this time. Some enjoy eating mooncake, and others can partake in the less fattening custom of drinking tea. Another one is matchmaking. The elders only want the best for their grand-kids, but in this day and age, not everyone will necessarily agree to who they get paired with.

There’s plenty of games and activities to do too, but for the animation enthusiast, I’m planning on the following:

The first movie is perhaps the most directly influenced by, because the Moon Goddess Chang’e (嫦娥) is involved.

Over the Moon (2020)
Netflix (select countries)

This heartfelt flick introduces a spunky Fei Fei, who is forever lost. Her mom passed and the last thing the two did together was when the girl was gifted with a bunny. At the same time, she’s determined and believes its possible to get her mom back, but she has to meet the Moon Goddess and make that wish. While her family is able to move on, she isn’t, and builds a rocket to ride on in order to meet the deity….

La Luna (2011 film)
Disney+

This amusing short is beautiful in its construction and note-worthy because of the message it delivers. Everyone has their own way of accomplishing the same goal, and this work shows that it’s better to work together than apart when it comes to cleaning off the stars that’s lured to the moon’s surface.

The Tale of the Princess Kaguya (film) - Wikipedia

The Tale of the Princess Kaguya (2013)
Netflix (select countries)

There’s more to who Kaguya-hime than meets the eye. She’s found as a baby tucked within a growth of bamboo by an old man. He and his wife raise her as their own. But they are amazed when she quickly grows up, and her past comes to confront her! It all somehow leads to her being from a Moon Kingdom…

(1) https://moonfestivalblog.com/moon-festival-the-chinese-mid-autumn-festival/

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