Tuesday, August 18, 2009

The moon and the hare

An Indian legend relates that Buddha was a hare in an early incarnation, travelling in the company of an ape and a fox. The god Indra, disguised as a hungry beggar, decided to test their hospitality. Each animal went in search of food, and only the hare returned empty handed. Determined to be hospitable, the hare built a fire and jumped into it himself, feeding Indra with his own flesh. The god rewarded this sacrifice by transforming him into the Hare in the Moon.

In China, the Hare in the Moon is depicted with a mortar and pestle in which he mixes the elixir of immortality; he is the messenger of a female moon deity and the guardian of all wild animals. In Chinese folklore, female hares conceive through the touch of the full moon's light or by crossing water by moonlight or by licking moonlight from a male hare’s fur. Figures of hares or white rabbits are commonly found at Chinese Moon Festivals, where they represent longevity, fertility, and the feminine power of yin.


Blogger Mopsa said...

I'd call that beyond hospitable, and something of a one-off gesture?

10:35 am  
Blogger Winchester whisperer said...

LOL Mopsa!

8:11 am  
Blogger Ellee Seymour said...

I have a lovely white rabbit in my garden called Reg. I think he would like one of these female hares at a Chinese Moon Festival.

8:21 pm  
Blogger Winchester whisperer said...

Probably, Ellee, especially if he could jump out of a hat!

7:28 am  
Blogger Welshcakes Limoncello said...

I didn't know any of that before. I'm glad the hare was rewarded.

11:06 pm  

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