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Origin of Moon Cakes: The Revolt of Zhu Yuanzhang (Intermediate)

Sep. 15, 2010

Origin of Moon Cakes: The Revolt of Zhu Yuanzhang

Key Learning Points (Preview):

起义 (qǐyì): n. revolt/uprising

 

月饼 (yuèbǐng): n. moon cake

 

团圆/团聚 (tuányuán/tuánjù): n. reunion

 

愿望 (yuànwang): n. wish/desire

 

抗/反抗 (kàng/fǎnkàng): v. to resist/to fight against

 

Learn Chinese Online:Origin of Moon Cakes

Zhōngqiūjié de chuántǒng shípǐn shì yuèbǐng,

中秋节         的    传统         食品    是   月饼,

yuèbǐng shì yuán xíng de, xiàngzhēng tuányuán,

月饼        是 圆     形    的, 象征            团圆,

fǎnyìngle rénmen duì jiārén tuánjù de měihǎo yuànwang.

反映了       人们     对  家人   团聚   的   美好       愿望。

 

The traditional food of Mid-Autumn Festival is moon cake. Moon cakes are round, and this shape symbolizes reunion. It represents the desire of Chinese people to get together with family and friends.

Zhōngqiūjié chī yuèbǐng xiāngchuán shǐ yú Yuándài.

中秋节         吃   月饼        相传          始  于   元代。

 

It is said that the tradition of eating moon cakes during the Mid-Autumn Festival began during the Yuan Dynasty.

  Dāngshí, zhōngyuán guǎngdà rénmín bùkān rěnshòu Yuáncháo

当时,        中原          广大        人民     不堪     忍受      元      朝

(Měnggǔ rén jiàn lì de zhèng quán) de cánkù tǒngzhì,

(蒙古人        建 立 的    政      权)     的   残酷   统治,

fēnfēn qǐyì kàng Yuán.

纷纷    起义 抗     元。

 

During that period, people in central China couldn't endure the monstrous tyranny of the Yuan Dynasty (established by Mongolians). As a result, uprisings occurred on a regular basis.

Zhū Yuánzhāng liánhé gè lù fǎnkàng lìliàng zhǔnbèi qǐyì.

朱元璋               联合  各 路  反抗     力量      准备    起义。

 

Eventually, Zhu Yuanzhang united the rebels and staged a revolt.

Dàn cháoting guānbīng sōuchá de shífēn yánmì,

但     朝廷           官兵      搜查    的   十分   严密,

gè lù yìjūn zhī jiān chuándì xiāoxi shífēn kùnnan.

各 路义军 之 间     传递     消息   十分     困难。

 

However, it was very difficult for the different rebel groups to communicate due to the fact that they were constantly monitored by Yuan officials.

Wèile bìkāi zhèxiē sōuchá, jūnshī Liú Bówēn biàn xiǎng chū yí tiáo  jìcè, 

为了    避开  这些   搜查, 军师    刘   伯温    便     想     出 一  条   计策,

mìnglìng shǔxià bǎ xiě yǒu " bā  yuè shíwǔ yè  qǐ  yì " de zhǐtiáo cáng rù bǐngzi lǐmiàn,

命令         属下   把  写   有“八    月  十五 夜 起 义”的   纸条    藏   入 饼子   里面,

zài pài rén fēntóu chuánsòng dào gèdì  qǐyìjūn zhōng,

再 派   人    分头      传送        到   各地   起义军  中,

tōngzhī tāmen zài bā yuè shíwǔ rì wǎnshang qǐyì xiǎngyìng.

通知      他们    在 八 月   十五 日    晚上     起义   响应。

 

In order to get around these restrictions, strategist Liu Bowen hatched a plan. He ordered his subordinates to conceal a secret message in some pancakes, which read "War on 15th August" and then sent the pancakes to each rebel group to inform them of the date to attack.

Dàole qǐyì  de nàtiān, gè lù   yìjūn yìqí xiǎngyìng,

到了   起义 的  那天,各 路 义军 一齐   响应,

qǐyìjūn shìrúpòzhú.

起义军   势如破竹。

 

On August 15th, all the rebels acted simultaneously, and the revolution progressed too rapidly to be suppressed.

  Hěn kuài, Xú Dá jiù gōng xià Yuán Dàdū, qǐyì chénggōng le.

很     快,徐   达 就   攻   下    元    大都,起义   成功       了。

 

Soon, Xu Da (a general in Zhu Yuanzhang's army) seized Dadu, the capital city of the Yuan dynasty, which meant victory for the rebels.

Xiāoxi chuán lái, Zhū Yuánzhāng gāoxìng de liánmáng chuan xià kǒuyù,

  消息      传     来,朱       元璋         高兴    得    连忙        传    下   口谕,

zài jíjiāng láilín de Zhōngqiūjié,

在 即将   来临  的    中秋节,

jiāng dāngnián qǐbīng shí yǐ  mìmì chuándì xìnxī de "yuèbǐng,"

将        当年       起兵   时 以 秘密   传递   信息   的“月饼”,

zuòwéi jiélìng gāodiǎn shǎngcì qúnchén.

作为      节令      糕点     赏赐       群臣。

 

Upon hearing the good news, Zhu Yuanzhang hastily ordered that a great number of pancakes, which had been used to deliver the secret messages that made the revolution possible, be made. He wanted them to be distributed among his soldiers in the coming Mid-Autumn Festival.

Zuìzhōng Zhōngqiūjié chī yuèbǐng de xísú biàn zài quánguó liúchuán kāi lái.

最终              中秋节    吃    月饼    的  习俗  便   在   全国        流传    开  来。

 

Eventually, the custom of eating moon cake during the Mid-Autumn Festival spread over the whole nation.

  Cǐhòu, "yuèbǐng" zhìzuò de pínzhǒng gèngduō, chéngwéi kuìzèng de jiāpǐn.

此后, “月饼”    制作 的      品种        更多,   成为          馈赠    的 佳品。

 

Since then, many variations of moon cake have been created, all of which will make a fine present during Mid-Autumn Festival.

Hòulái, Zhū Yuánzhāng zhōngyú bǎ Yuáncháo tuīfān,

后来,   朱      元璋           终于    把   元     朝     推翻,

chéngwéi Míngcháo de dì yī gè huángdì,

成为           明     朝    的 第一  个  皇帝,

suīrán qí hòu Mǎnqīng rén rù zhǔ Zhōngguó,

虽然     其 后     满清    人   入  主     中国,

dànshì rénmen réngjiù qìngzhù zhè ge jiérì.

但是      人们        仍旧     庆祝    这 个 节日。

 

Finally, Zhu Yuanzhang overthrew the Yuan Dynasty and became the first emperor of the Ming Dynasty. Although the Ming government was later overthrown by the Qing, people have continued to celebrate Mid-Autumn Festival.

Key Learning Points: 起义 (qǐyì): n. revolt, uprising

 

Example:

Qǐyìjūn zuìzhōng gánzǒule Yuáncháo de tǒngzhì zhě.

起义军      最终      赶走了    元     朝    的   统治    者。

 

Finally, the rebels routed the Mongolians.

月饼 (yuèbǐng): n. moon cake

 

Example:

Zuìjìn xīn chūle yòng shānzhā zuò xiàn de yuèbǐng.

最近   新    出了   用      山楂    作   馅   的  月饼。

 

A new kind of moon cake stuffed with Chinese hawthorn has come out in the market

团圆/团聚 (tuányuán/tuánjù): n. reunion

 

Example:

Zhōngqiūjié shì yì jiā tuányuán/ tuánjù de  rìzi.

中秋节           是 一 家       团圆/团聚     的 日子。

 

Mid-Autumn is a day for the reunion of family members.

愿望 (yuànwang): n. wish/desire

 

Example:

Wǒ zuì dà de yuànwang jiùshì quán jiā jiànkāng.

我    最 大 的   愿望        就是    全   家   健康。

 

My greatest wish is that all family members are in good health.

抗/反抗 (kàng/fǎngkàng): v. to fight against

 

Example:

Wǒmen yào yòng yìqiè lìliàng fǎnkàng kǒngbù zhǔyì.

我们       要    用    一切 力量    反抗       恐怖    主义。

 

We will fight against terrorism with all our strength.

Background Information:

元朝 (Yuáncháo): Yuan Dynasty was the first dynasty founded by the ethnic minority in Chinese history. It was from 1206 A.D. to 1368 A.D and ruled by Mongolians. Dadu (now the Peking city) was the capital of Yuan Dynasty. 

 

明朝 (Míngcháo): Ming Dynasty started from 1368 A.D. to 1644 A.D. Zhu Yuanzhang was the first emperor of Ming dynasty.

 

满清 (Mǎnqīng): Qing Dynasty, from 1644 A.D. to 1911 A.D,was the second dynasty that China was ruled by the ethnic minority and also the last feudal political power in Chinese history. It was ruled by Minority Man so it is also called ManQing.

 

Learn Chinese Online: New Vocabulary:

象征 (xiàngzhēng): v. / n. to symbolize/symbol

 

忍受 (rěnshòu): v. to endure

 

准备 (zhǔnbèi): v. to prepare

 

传递 (chuándì): v. to deliver

 

馈赠 (kuìzèng): v. to give something to somebody as a gift

 

推翻 (tuīfān): v. to overthrow

 

庆祝 (qìngzhù): v. to celebrate

 

 

Further Reading:

Take A Taxi (Intermediate)

Video Lesson: 干得好 (Gàn de hǎo)! Good job!

Chinese Mini-test: Course (Intermediate)

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Comments

i love it

Helpful blog, bookmarked the website with hopes to read more!

What is the different between “一起” and “一齐” in Chinese?

I also learnt story of “Chang’e ben yue” during a previous lesson. I think they are two independent stories. Maybe this one is more reliable; however, “Chang’e ben yue” is more imaginative.

Stories in newsletters really got me interested in learning Chinese online. This story made me think of another story about the Mid-Autumn festival during a previous lesson, “Chang’e ben yue”. Is there any relationship between them?

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