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The birthday of the moon is a Chinese festival celebrated on September 15. You may have heard of "the yin and the yang"; this is a celebration of the "yin" aspect. Its origin story begins with the Emperor Ming Wong having a talk with his priest; he asks the priest what the moon is made of, and to answer his question, the priest works a magic spell and takes him to the moon. He is so happy with this experience that once he came back to Earth, he tosses gold down on the crowds of people as he plays music. When the townspeople ask why they had been rewarded, he simply tells them it had been the moon's birthday.

Today, this festival is celebrated in China where lanterns are burning everywhere, all night long. White paper lanterns that resemble full moons decorate houses, and people burn cassia wood incense. The people celebrate under the lantern light by sitting on their roofs and having a harvest with moon-shaped cookies and cakes and anything that they have stored up. It is traditional to stargaze during this festival, and to look for shooting stars. If a young girl spots a meteor, it would mean she was to bear many children, and if a young boy saw one, he would be a prosperous man.

Some information taken from Patricia Telesco's The Magick of Folk Wisdom, © 1995.

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