Remember when you were a kid and you climbed to the roof of your house and lay in the cool night air and gazed at the moon
; how you imagined the features of a kind man
smiling down at you? Well, long ago while Spain
was sending out ships in search of spices a little boy with red-brown skin and silky dark hair
gazed up at those same stars
as he leaned against a grassy hill...and saw a rabbit
in the moon.
"Rabbit in the Moon" stems from a Mayan myth
. When the Mayans looked at the shadows formed by the distant craters
, they saw a leaping rabbit. As a result, images of the Moon Goddess
are often depicted with her holding a rabbit in her arms.
Other cultures have seen the leaping rabbit in the moon as well, it would seem. While searching for links between the holiday Easter and the animal the rabbit, Ron Westman of the House Rabbit Society
found the following:
The rabbit's association with the moon is partly explained by two stories. In one Buddha places him there as payment for a favor in which Rabbit voluntarily gave himself as food for one of Buddha's hungry friends. In another, a rabbit, with nothing else to offer a hungry, weary Indra, jumps into a fire, cooking himself for the deity (a timeless example of humankind's self-serving fables). Out of gratitude, Indra placed the rabbit in the moon.
I've also discovered it is the title of a documentary film
concerning the Japanese
in World War II
. A little chatting with ch'i-lin
and I learned that this is because they too see a rabbit in the moon. Not only that, but Sailor Moon's
name is Usagi Tsukino which literally translates to rabbit on the moon. The translation explains a little about the Japanese Animation
character, as her guardian planet
is the moon and she is portrayed with these two really long pony-tails that I've always thought looked a little rabbity myself. Obviously the bands and dance groups who have obtained the name over the year have been inspired by ancient myths deeply rooted in several cultures
Next time you lay in the grass or on a roof, squint your eyes
and try to ignore the smiling man you may have been gazing at all these years. Instead open your eyes to the leaping rabbit and consider what the little Mayan
boy might have been thinking as he looked upon it.
Or of course you could picture the cartoon blonde with the short skirt.
House Rabbit Society, http://www.rabbit.org/journal/1/history-of-easter.html
New Day Films, http://www.newday.com/films/Rabbit_In_the_Moon.html
Half Moon Org., http://www.halfmoon.org/