Peach Festival of the Queen Mother of the West, artist unknown. ca. 17th century. National Museums of Asian Art, Smithsonian Institution. Washington, DC. Hsi Wang Mu, by unknown Chinese artist (Project Gutenberg).
Hsi Wang Mu is the ruler of the western paradise and keeper of the Peaches of Immortality. Her jade palace is on the peaks of the snowy mountain range of K'un-lun and is the home of the Immortals. Every six thousand years Hsi Wang Mu has a birthday celebration which is called P’an-t’ao Hui, ‘the Feast of Peaches.’ The date for the festival exactly coincides with the ripening of the immortal peaches.
According to Taoist myth, the peach orchards of Hsi Wang Mu leaf out once every three thousand years but it is only after an additional three thousand years that the trees bear a season of fruit. The banquet to celebrate this event takes place on the shores of the Yao Ch’ih (Lake of Gems) and is attended by all of the Immortals. The feast includes such delicacies as dragon liver and phoenix marrow. However, the highlight of the banquet is the, rarest of rare, Immortal Peach, which has the magical property of bestowing immortality on all who taste it.