This particular poem pays homage to the Chinese holiday known as Mid-Autumn Festival, or also commonly known as Moon Festival, Lantern Festival, or Mooncake festival, and is also celebrated by many other Asian communities around the world. The myth behind the festival hails back to almost 3,000 years ago and tells the story of Houvi and Chang'e. In a nutshell, Chang'e swallows the pill of immortality given to Houvi as a gift by the Emperor Yao who was rewarding Houvi for saving the one son/sun he had left. The pill causes Chang'e to float up to the moon, where she is greeted by the Jade Rabbit who lives on the moon. Chang'e is not able to return to earth and commands the Jade Rabbit to pound out a new medicine/pill so that she can take it to help her return to earth to be reunited with her love, Houvi.
This myth of Houvi, Chang'e, and the Jade Rabbit is a myth I am particularly fond of because it really does capture the human necessity to explain the wonders of nature. That is, during a full moon, the dark areas to the top of the moon may be construed as the figure of a rabbit holding a mortar and pestle. I'll never forget when I first looked upon the moon and saw what my ancestors saw so long ago. The human imagination knows no boundaries. It IS the proverbial rabbit hole, and truly, that is fine by me because it just adds a layer of wonder to this whole experience of life. It truly is the land of wonderfilled.