The moon has been an intriguing and mysterious symbol throughout the ages and civilizations. It has also been a sign of inspiration, beauty and elegance for many artists, intellectuals and human beings in general. Its shape, color, intensity and essence are not only unpublished evidence of its beauty; but they are also the reason behind the existence of so many urban legends, mystical adventures and epic events. There’s no doubt that the moon has entertained us since the very beginning of our existence.
 
As we can see, it is not a surprise that in some countries like Taiwan there are holidays related to the moon. This holiday is called “Moon Festival” and is quite popular among all the Taiwanese. During the night of this holiday the moon is at its fullest and roundest. That’s why in Taiwan, since 1980s, barbecuing meat outdoors has become a widespread way to celebrate the Mid-Autumn Festival (another name of this holiday). Basically, the main activity during this holiday is to gather to admire the bright mid-autumn harvest moon, sharing some quality time and eat moon cakes and pomelos under the moon together…
 
Well, I think, it is enough of history, data and stories. Now, the coolest and the most important part: What did I do in my first Moon Festival in Taiwan? Unfortunately, this year the festival was on weekday, because that I was not able to experience this celebration at its 100%. My friends and I were very tired; we had so much homework for the next day and the worst part: class at 8:00 a.m.! Yeah, life was not really cool with all of us at that point. However, we did not give up and my friends decided to show me their culture and traditions…
 
I was planning to have some barbecuing meat outdoors, but then I realized that I had totally forgotten the huge signs all around Chengchi University’s campus and especially around our dormitory’s area, which say very clearly and in capital letters: “Barbecuing is not allowed!” I was a little bit sad, and at the same time, kind of worried because it was already around 10 p.m. and we all needed to go to sleep soon.
 
We did not have that many options, so we chose to sit outside and chat for a while. Some of my friends brought from their hometowns different varieties of moon cakes and cookies, so I had the chance of trying them on my first Moon Festival in Taiwan. We combined them with some juices and milk, as well. We chatted a lot, and suddenly, our conversation turned into several games. They showed me how to play some card games and one game called “Stupid”, which is kind of hard, because it requires your concentration. I really enjoyed the game and I thought it was a lot of fun, especially when someone made a mistake, and I can’t forget how much I improve my numbers in Chinese during that night…
 
That night was awesome and unforgettable. The coolest part was actually seeing the moon and to see how my Taiwanese friends enjoyed and admired it. The experience that I lived was not only fun, because I could also understand more about the perspective that Taiwanese people have concerning their culture, traditions and history. I spent some quality time with my new friends and I also learned a lot about the background of this festival and its legend, which is related to Houyi and Chang’e, the Moon Goddess of Immortality (if you have some free time, please check it, which is really interesting, actually).  
 
To conclude my small sharing with all of you guys, I would like to say that Taiwan is a country with a very interesting history and traditions. So, why not give them a try? At the beginning I did not know what to expect from the Moon Festival but I really enjoyed it. Our culture can be quite different, but at the end of the day, that’s one of the main purposes why we are here… exchange international experiences, right? I have fun and just enjoy Taiwan!

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NCCU-Daniel Guzman Briman古狄安.doc724 KB