A daily study of the Network’s diverse faiths
Chinese Moon Festival. On the fifteenth lunar day of eighth lunar month, this Mid-Autumn Festival (Rabbit in the Moon Festival, Zhongqiujie, 中秋节) celebrates the moon’s birthday and offerings are made to the rabbit in the moon, who is pounding the elixir of life with a pestle. It is one of the largest festivals in mainland China and East Asia and began 3,000 years ago during the Shang Dynasty as a celebration of the moon deity, and it is also a time to reconnect to family members. Many traditions of the Mid-Autumn Festival are centred around family reunion and happiness and lucky red lanterns may have riddles written on them and be floated down rivers in the middle of the night. Spirit Money, along with incense, is offered to the moon by Han Chinese (漢人) women, who also make special moon cakes (yuebing, 月饼), some containing ground lotus and sesame seeds or dates. Many other ethnic groups across China and the entire world now recognise the holiday and it celebrated by the Japanese, Vietnamese, Koreans, Filipinos and many others. Greetings include zhongqiujie kuaile (中秋节快乐, Happy Mid-Autumn Festival!) Image: yoyochinese.com.
St Matthew the Apostle (Levi, Matthew the Evangelist, Matthew of Galilee, Gift of God) (died First Century). Western Christianity Feast, Church of England Festival and Lutheran Lesser Festival for the one of the four Evangelists who in the Babylonian Talmud is Mattai, one of five disciples of Jeshu. He was a non-Judean Nazarene literate in Aramaic and Greek, had been a publican and was a tax collector sitting at the receipt of custom in Capernaum when he was called to follow Jesus as a Disciple. Jesus said: “I came not to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance.” Matthew was one of the witnesses of the Ascension and then preached the Gospel to the Jewish community in Judea, before travelling to other countries after 42 CE to escape persecution. The Catholic Church and the Orthodox Church each hold the tradition that Matthew died as a martyr in Ethiopia. His tomb is located in the crypt of Salerno Cathedral in southern Italy. The short fifth-decade Gospel according to Matthew is anonymously according to him and he collected and interpreted the sayings of or about Jesus in the Hebrew language (Hebraïdi dialektoi). Jewish-Christian gospels are also attributed to Matthew, of which fragments survive. Venerated in Eastern Orthodox, Catholic, Lutheran and Eastern Catholic Churches, Anglican Communion, Oriental Orthodoxy, Church of the East. The Qur’an speaks of Jesus’ disciples as helpers to the work of Allah but without naming them. Muslim exegesis names them, with Matthew and Andrew going to Ethiopia. Coptic Orthodox Feast 22 October, Eastern Christianity 16 November. Orthodox commemoration with the other Apostles 30 June or 13 July, the Synaxis (liturgical assembly) of the Holy Apostles. Patron of Salerno, accountants, bankers, tax collectors, civil servants and perfumiers. Image: catholicnewsagency.com.
St Mabyn (Mavena, Mabena) (c474-c550). Feast Day for one of the many daughters of King Brychan Brycheiniog of Brecknockshire (Breconshire) in Mid Wales who evangelised Northern Kernow (Cornwall). She lived as a hermitress, worshipping in a small chapel four miles east of Wadebridge. She was martyred, probably by Irish pirates, on 18 November around 550 and was buried in a church that had been dedicated to her by the Twelfth Century, the present Grade I listed St Mabyn Church having replaced it in the late Fifteenth Century. A credence table used in the celebration of the Eucharist that survives at St Mabyn may originally have been the panel of a tomb raised in Mabyn’s honour and all her sisters may have had tombs erected for them. Venerated in Roman Catholic, Eastern Orthodox, Anglican and Lutheran churches. Mabyn is depicted in a 1523 stained glass wives’ window in the church in the nearby village of St Neot 12 miles east of St Mabyn. St Mabyn’s hymn was sung by local people to celebrate her virtues and those of her twenty-three siblings. Feast Day commemorating death 18 November. Patron of St Mabyn. Image: en.wikipedia.org.
Prayer As You did St Mabyn, take Me, O My Father, save me, through Thy Son. That which Thou wouldst have me, make me, let Thy will in me be done. Long from Thee my footsteps straying, thorny proved the way I trod. weary come I now, and praying, Take me to Thy love, my God. Amen