CHINESE mid-Autumn Festival
Stephanie Hong is a dynamic and prominent personality within her community and is a hard working, successful career person. Originally from Hong Kong, Stephanie has made Canada her home since 1976.
Watch the moon closely on Friday, September 11, this year and you will notice that the moon is in fullest shape, and looks brighter than any other night. Yes, the Chinese think the full moon (15th) of the eighth month is especially lovely, and to celebrate its beauty, we hold the Mid-Autumn Festival, which usually falls in September of the western calendar.
To celebrate the festival, food is a must. Moon cakes are the specialty we eat .. it is round shaped and filled with delicious dried nuts and fruits. The most common kind is with lotus seed and salted egg yolk. Everyone loves moon cakes .. and it tastes much better when it is eaten on the full moon day.
There are still some families who celebrate the event by gathering on the balcony later at night to look at the moon, eating moon cakes and having a cup of hot Chinese tea.
In the olden days, not every child had toys, so with the festival approaching, children had the most fun as they carried the lighted lanterns around. They spent days and nights to design and make special lanterns to show off their talents. They used bamboo sticks, colourful thin wax paper, glue, and their imagination to create different shapes, such as a fish, a rabbit, a butterfly, a rocket .. they lit it up by putting a candle inside the lantern. It was fun and looked wonderful at night; but it has also created a lot of fires. Nowadays, we seldom see children making it and playing with it .. if they do, batteries and light bulbs are used for safety.
There are legends and fairy tales about the Mid-Autumn Festival. The simplest legend is that there was a beautiful lady who lived in the moon with a rabbit beside a pine tree … well .. since the astronaut made his first step on the moon, the beauty of this legend vanished !
The moon cakes also have their story .. they were used to convey secret messages to the Chinese patriots who took part in the rebellion .. the message was written on a piece of paper and stuck inside the moon cake.
Nowadays life is busy and people simplify the celebration of the festival. However, it is still a custom for the Chinese family to get together, enjoy a fabulous dinner on the full moon day, and of course to taste at least one piece of moon cake, which can be found at most Asian grocery stores. They usually come in a box of four, each cake about 4″ diameter.