The cover has a white rabbit in an intricate Chinese medallion.
Open to a Lunar New Year scene: a white jade rabbit is looking at a full moon. There is a cinnamon tree with yellow blooms. The blooms smell wonderful!
This card is a little esoteric, we admit, but the scene is great story with references from ancient China to Lewis Carroll’s Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland, all the way to Apollo 11 space mission, and the (wo)man on the moon,
This is a card for lovers, including lovers separated by distance, for family, for family reunions, for celebrations, for astronauts, for Chinese friends and family, for anyone interested in legend, or interested in the moon and stars and sun. For anyone interested in China, in outer space, in the space mission, in Apollo moon landings, in immortality, in the year 1969, and in magical elixirs. In short, this is a very special card.
This is the story of the Moon Festival:
The legend is that long, long ago, there were ten suns in the sky. The suns burnt all the plants and people were dying on Earth, until one day excellent archer Hou Yi used his bow and arrows to shoot down nine of the suns. Earth was saved, and people flocked to learn archery from Hou Yi.
The Queen Mother rewarded Hou Yi with a bottle of elixir that could make one person immortal. Although he did want to become immortal, he wanted to stay with his wife Chang’e more. Therefore, he kept the potion at home.
A student tried to seize the elixir when Hou Yi wasn’t at home. To stop him, Chang’e drank the elixir herself. It made her fly to the moon where she would stay forever and become Chinese Goddess of the Moon. People have prayed to her for good fortune ever since. During the Moon Fest festival-goers swear that they can spot her dancing on the moon. She is kept company by a white jade rabbit.
The Moon Festival is an occasion for family reunions. When the full moon rises, families get together to watch the full moon, eat moon cakes and sing moon poems. It is also a romantic occasion. The festival legend is about a couple who are madly in love and devoted to one another. Traditionally, lovers spent romantic nights at the event tasting delicious moon cake and drinking wine while watching the full moon. When circumstances prevent couples from being together during the festival, they watch the moon at the same time to feel together for the night.
Chang-e and the Jade Rabbit were mentioned in this conversation between Houston and the Apollo 11 crew just before the first Moon landing in 1969:
- Houston: “Among the large headlines concerning Apollo this morning is one asking that you watch for a lovely girl with a big rabbit. An ancient legend says a beautiful Chinese girl called Chang-e has been living there for 4,000 years. It seems she was banished to the Moon because she stole the pill of immortality from her husband. You might also look for her companion, a large Chinese rabbit standing on his hind feet in the shade of a cinnamon tree.”
- Astronaut Michael Collins: “Okay. We’ll keep a close eye out for the bunny girl.”
White Rabbit in Lewis Carroll’s book Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland:
Personality: Time-Conscious, Hurried, Confused, Disheveled, Fidgety, Eccentric, High-Strung, Loyal, Hyper, Hasty
Goal: To remain consistently punctual
White Rabbit, by Grace Slick:
And the ones that mother gives you, don’t do anything at all
Tell ’em a hookah-smoking caterpillar has given you the call
And you’ve just had some kind of mushroom, and your mind is moving low
And the white knight is talking backwards
And the red queen’s off with her head
Remember what the dormouse said
Feed your head, feed your head.