A Richmond mall is inviting community members to enjoy a fun Mid-Autumn Festival celebration designed to raise awareness on how to rescue, control and manage abandoned rabbits.
Next week, on Sept. 23 and 24, Lansdowne Centre will be offering a series of free, family-friendly activities including a meet and treat with adorable bunnies, riddle guessing, children’s arts and crafts and a local artisan market.
The mall will also be transformed with festive decor including a giant moon, a lantern wall and a lantern tunnel, and visitors will get to win an assortment of prizes.
All funds raised from the event will benefit Rabbitats, a Richmond-based non-profit dedicated to rescuing, controlling and managing the growing abandoned rabbit population in the Lower Mainland.
The tales of Chang’e and the jade rabbit
The event, named “Mid-Autumn: Meet the Bunnies under the Moon” is based on the traditional Chinese folklore of Chang’e and the jade rabbit.
According to legends, Chang’e was married to Hou Yi, an archer who saved mankind by shooting down nine of the ten suns to prevent them from scorching the earth.
Hou Yi received an immortality elixir from the gods, but Chang’e consumed it instead and rose to the moon. She ultimately became the goddess of the moon.
The jade rabbit is believed to be Chang’e’s companion on the moon.
The Emperor of Heaven had decided to test the virtues of a fox, a rabbit and a monkey to see who could be a dependable divine medicine maker.
He told the three animals he was hungry and asked them to bring him food.
When the rabbit failed to bring back anything for the emperor, it jumped into the fire and offered itself as food out of guilt.
The emperor, who was touched by its sacrifice, granted the rabbit immortality and made it the next divine medicine maker.
While working as a divine medicine maker, the jade rabbit broke the emperor’s rule and gave the Queen Mother of the West two immortality elixirs instead of one every one thousand years.
As its punishment, the jade rabbit volunteered to live on the moon with Chang’e.
The Mid-Autumn Festival falls on Sept. 29 this year, but Lansdowne Centre has decided to hold the event one week earlier out of respect for the National Day for Truth and Reconciliation.