"The Lunar Rebellion"

(Scene 1) The calm before the storm

Early 13th century, China, Southern Song Dynasty.
It was a time of peace and prosperity. Commerce, culture, and technology achieved previously unattained heights. Under the leadership of an able government, the people were well-clothed and had ample food. it was truly considered one of the Golden Eras in Chinese history. But little did they know that death and destruction loomed just beyond the northern horizon...

(Scene 2) Descent of darkness

1206 A. D.
An immense Mongolian host gathered at Wu Nan, north of the Middle Kingdom. The Mongolians, fierce nomadic horsemen, unmatched in the art of mounted combat. Led by Tie Mu Zhen, later known as Genghis Khan, or the "Great Khan", the foundations for the Mongol Empire were laid. Genghis Khan unleashed his Mongolian hordes, sweeping across the face of Northern Asia. They came, they saw, and they conquered.
1271 A. D.
Kubulai Khan, grandson of Genghis Khan, officially heralded the start of a new Mongolian era, a period he termed the Yuan Dynasty. Leading his battled-hardened clansmen in an army the likes of which had never before been witnessed, Kubulai began the invasion of China.

(Scene 3) Resistance

Fierce resistance was encountered from the Chinese. Pugilists from every sect and society put aside age-old differences and fought the invaders. During this chaotic period, many heroes emerged from the ranks of the common people, joining the struggle to drive back the Mongolians. Marshal of the Resistance, Wen Tian Xiang, bravely held on to vital strongholds in Guangxi, Jingmen, and Fujian with an army of patriots.

(Scene 4) Death...and despair

Sadly, the defending armies fell before the might of the Mongolian hordes. Marshal Wen was captured and subsequently executed. Seeing that the situation was hopeless, the Song Prime Minister, along with the child Emperor, took their lives.
1279 A. D.
China was conquered by the Mongolians and the Yuan Dynasty began.

(Scene 5) The straw that broke the camel's back

Decline of the Yuan Dynasty.
After 3 centuries of rule, the Mongolian government in China became corrupt and the economy took a downturn. Years of poor harvests led to severe famine, the nobles exploited the peasants mercilessly in their greed, causing great suffering among the common people. It was a time of simmering unrest, a period where the people started to find courage and determination in the midst of their suffering to strain against the harsh, unyielding yoke of their Mongolian masters.

(Scene 6) Hope stirs anew

The Mongolians treated their Chinese subjects harshly, for fear of uprising. As the Mid-Autumn Festival drew close, the Chinese had a flash of inspiration - they began inserting little notes into the traditional mooncakes baked specially for the celebration, messages that called for an organised and concerted rebellion. These mooncakes were widely distributed to the common people, and within them, the dates, times and pre-arranged signals with which the Chinese could finally regain their freedom after so many centuries of relentless foreign oppression. Hope stirred anew in the people's hearts. Spirits revived. Silently, they bade their time.

(Scene 7) To battle!

1429 A.D. Night of the Mid-Autunn Festival
The unsuspecting Mongolians held banquets in their palaces, celebrating the Festival amidst lavish entertainment and sumptious feasts. Exotic mooncakes of every imaginable variety were served, but never would the Mongolian rulers have guessed that this unique dessert of humble origins would play such a key role in their downfall...

(Scene 8) Freedom!

The people of China, spurred on by the messages hidden in the mooncakes, galvanized into action. Led by Zhu1 Yuan2 Zhang1, a legendary folk hero, they fell upon the Mongolians, re-conquering cities throughout China and eventually driving the invaders back to their northern plains. In the month of August on the following year, the Yuan Dynasty fell.

Since then, mooncakes have been eaten during the Mid-Autumn Festival as a celebration of the successful rebellion.

Disclaimer: Although the events in this story are not purely fictitious, the protrayal of Mongolians as the bad guys was written solely for entertainment purposes. History always paints the losers in a bad light so one cannot pin the entire blame on them for the people's sufferings. Any resemblance to persons living or dead is definitely unintentional. :)
H3 1999

We welcome comments or questions.
Last modified on 13th Nov 1999.

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