The Harvest Moon –what’s it’s significance? I actually thought about this the other day when I was at Ranch 99 –the ultimate Asian Grocery store (just in case you didn’t know.) As I walked through the bakery section, we came across the stacks upon stacks of moon cakes. My friend asked me what they were and why we ate them? I said that I assumed that it had to do with the Harvest Moon, but I wasn’t sure. Yes… I know, I’m losing what little Asian street cred I have, for not knowing the meaning. When I got home, I picked up my copy of “Good Luck Life: the Essential Guide to Chinese American Celebrations” and found out that moon cakes “symbolize the heavenly blessings of longevity and good health.”
For those who follow the Farmer’s Almanac, the harvest moon suggests the end of summer and a time of abundance. It allows farmers to harvest the rewards of their hard spring and summer’s work. This moon also rises earlier and provides farmers more time for harvest.
As I searched some more, I read that in Chinese Taoist philosophy, that this moon served as a reminder to “slow down our frantic outward activities, rest, and reflect inward on our life’s journey so that we can continue to stay on our golden path.” That , “as the sap of trees move into their roots, leaves change color, and animals begin to store food for the winter, this is the time of year for us to start focusing on internal cultivation.” In other words, it is a reminder for reflection and self care.
Of course, if you read scientific websites, you’ll see that many say there’s no real significance.
Personally, I’m just taking this as a moment to remind each of us to reflect on how we can best take care of our spirits and souls. Just as importantly, know that I send you wishes for good health and heavenly blessings for longevity.
PS: It seems only appropriate to listen to Neil Young’s Harvest Moon on an evening such as this.