Updated: Oct 13, 2021
Other cultures celebrate some life events in a more significant or different way than western cultures do. For example, death can be a topic not acknowledged or discussed in western cultures, but it is celebrated and recognized in Mexico during the Day of the Dead holiday. In China and Vietnam, families celebrate the family by watching the moon on October 15 in the Han Calendar. At-Home Hospice Association we became interested in the tradition of the Mid-Autumn Festival, which originated during the Tang Dynasty. How is the Mid-Autumn Festival connected to our Moonlit Memory Walk event?
Why do we celebrate the Mid Autumn Festival?
The story that is associated with the Mid-Autumn Festival is that of Hou Yi, who saves his people by shooting down the sun. As a reward, Hou Yi is given an elixir which he refuses to drink. His wife, Change, is tricked into consuming the elixir, immortalizing her as the moon goddess. Hou Yi begins to grieve his loss and decides to continuously visit his wife who now exists as the moon and bring her gifts.
The morals of this story can be interpreted in many ways – the values of family, sacrifice, fertility, and others applicable to the mid-autumn season. The value of family is applied in eastern cultures when the moon is at its brightest point (October 15), recognizing one’s appreciation for those in their life. Even when family members aren’t with their loved ones during the Mid-Autumn Festival they are considered connected spiritually with all other families on that night. The concept of not having to be with your loved ones was something the Home Hospice Association team noted.
How do people celebrate Mid Autumn Festival?
During the Mid-Autumn Festival, people use candles or lanterns to remember a loved one or recognize a deity. The practice has been developed for placing lanterns in a river to guide lost spirits. These lanterns are lit and remain burning throughout the festival recognizing values involving family, gathering, sacrifice, and fertility. The idea of people coming together to show appreciation for family and loved ones was something the Home Hospice Association team felt could be applied to the Moonlit Memory Walk.
How does the Mid Autumn Festival connect to the Moonlit Memory Walk?
Eastern cultures celebrate important values during the Mid-Autumn Festival that can also be applied to hospice care. Hospice care will result in people grieving the loss of a loved one; something that has become even harder due to the pandemic. The values gained from the Mid-Autumn Festival were applied to our Moonlit Memory Walk to help the people in our communities who are dying and grieving.
Unlike most fundraisers which promise to fund research to survive the disease, the Moonlit Memory Walk exists to help improve the quality of life of those with a terminal illness. That purpose brings those who are aware of the natural processes of death and grieving together to help heal. Grieving is a process that can be helped by sharing and communicating with other people. Check out our previous blog on another way to help your body cope with grief.
Eastern cultures use the Mid-Autumn Festival to gather for social activities that express their values. Similarly, we made the Moonlit Memory Walk a welcoming environment where people can grieve together. Under the moonlight, we walk together along a path with our lit candles.
The value of grieving will be even more important now, as Ontario has moved into the third phase of reopening after the Covid pandemic. People are now able to recover as a community, and the Moonlit Memory Walk provides an opportunity to participate together in remembrance and grieving for our loved ones.
The Moonlit Memory Virtual Walk takes place on Wednesday, October 20, 2021. Now is the time to register, tell our community about who you want to remember and honor, raise money and receive great gifts. Visit https://www.homehospiceassociation.com/moonlit-memory-walk and join us today.
Join us again next week for a DIY grief kit to help you through the grief process. During this pandemic. grief can become more complicated if not acknowledged. Unfortunately, therapy might not be easily accessible during the pandemic, but our DIY ideas are easy things to try in the meantime.
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