Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Mid-Autumn Festival

Today is Mid-Autumn Festival here in China. I tried asking a Chinese friend the other day how she celebrated this day growing up, hoping it would give me some ideas on how to spend it with my kids. She said initially she would spend time with her family today, but once she got into middle school, the pressure to do well on tests was so high that she and her classmates always spent this day studying. Wow - so I was hoping to hear some fun childhood memories and instead ended up feeling sorry for Chinese youth.

We may celebrate by going out with some friends this afternoon on a picnic. I know one thing I don't plan to do is buy moon cakes. I've tried enough to know they aren't worth it (despite the fact that I've heard rumors of chocolate filled). Rather than try to explain moon cakes, or the Mid-Autumn Festival itself, I thought I'd repost what I wrote last year around this time:

The mid-autumn festival is approaching here. I'd love to tell you more about this holiday, but I'm not entirely sure what it's about other than eating moon cakes. These are little round cakes that have a somewhat pastry like outside and the densest insides you will ever encounter in something considered edible. That part's usually some kind of fruit flavor, but also could be red bean or chicken, among other things.

So because I lack the know all to tell you about the mid-autumn festival, let me share with you this gloriously written ad from a moon cake brochure found on our restaurant table tonight. I swear to you that this is word for word and not embellished in any way:

Welcomes the midautumn festival festival, month round person round all things is all smooth, the day and the human and all things are auspicious, are widely separated by Wan Lichuan the friendship, but asks the safe early morning and the evening.A moon cake entrance, the myriad taste enters the throat, the full moon view spends a character and style, the heart, thought, obtains, saw, smells, eats, the luck, transports, wealth, midautumn festival festival!"

Whatever it's about, it's a beautiful day today and we hope to enjoy it with or without (hopefully without) moon cakes.


Melanie said...

My son is taking Chineese at Edina High School and his teacher put together a celebration for the Mid-Autumn Festival with her classes. It was interesting. Jake's class acted out some story about a beautiful woman who drank some potion and then flew to the moon but didn't have enough to get back and is stuck on the moon with 3 other people doing something. Can't recall all the details except that Jake wore a wig and played the beautiful woman. I think the story was related to the festival, or maybe moon cakes. Have you heard it?

Gina Marie said...

Yes, I have heard this story. In fact, it was in one of the first lessons we ever had here in Chinese class! They used to basically worship the woman in the moon I think, but they have long since stopped doing that. Now they just stare at the moon and eat moon cakes. It seems to have lost any real meaning.