The moon festival, also known as mid autumn festival is an important holiday in Taiwan. I had the chance to gather its meaningful sense and its spirit that go alongside the motivation of its people. My experiences regarding that holiday are mainly based on the information that I was luckily able to collect from friends from The Center of International Affairs of the Kaohsiung Medical University where I attend. In addition, the recreative activities held by the office made that day an enriching, memorable day.
Parties were organized everywhere in the city, like it is usually done for other festivals. I quickly understood the reason for the family reunions, confirming the old story that in ancient times it was stated that this festival has a wonderful aim of gathering family members together, as they are usually abroad or live far away from each other. I witnessed people having barbecue, right in the fore front of their apartments, kids laughing, revealing happiness learning and sharing what has been passed down from generations to generations. Of course as for many other events in Taiwan, the fireworks were a huge highlight and were never missed. During the nights prior to that special festival, the sky was spotted with scintillated artificial lights that brightened their spirit as the big day was approaching.
I must confess, that on the moon festival day I did not get to know that what was around the city maybe because I knew that I was going to have a party in the afternoon and I would appreciate what it would be like to really be a participant of the Moon festival in Taiwan. It was not long into the party that it was no different from the other events I had been witnessing a few days before on the streets where the population was excited and animated with the will to celebrate. The Moon Festival party had started a long time ago. I was the one who needed to catch up.
Our School party started at five-thirty. As I approached the venue, “Happy-go-Lucky”, I could already hear the jovial invitees chatting to each other, ready to have a complete”blast”. The Schweitzer Boulevard was closed for the event allowing the erection of tents and placement of huge speakers playing serene, pleasant tunes. Various games were set for us to have a good time: tossing dice, cards and others. My favorite game of that night was the peeling contest where each participant was required to peel a pummelo or grapefruit, which is the favorite fruit at mid-autumn moon festival. The participant who took the least time to peel the fruit was deemed the winner. What made the game even more interesting was the fact that the supporters who cheered us up made the game even more challenging and adrenaline “pumping”. When the winner was proclaimed, we all shared the grapefruits with the supporters as to thank them for their warm encouragement while we replayed in our own way the funny parts of the game.
The next part of the party all revolved around the famous moon cake called “yuèbĭng”. Traditionally people offered that delicacy to friends and family to celebrate their happiness during the festival. Different types of moon cakes were served and mine contained taro paste and pineapple, very tasty. Oh, I now have the recipe; let’s wait if I can prepare it!
By then, everyone was satiated, but to keep them energized, a raffle was scheduled. This raffle concluded the day’s activities. I firmly believed that this was not usually part of the tradition but at this point, all is fun, anxiously, waiting to hear our name from the megaphone. How fortunate I was to hear my name from the device! And among all the attendees I was the second runner-up from a raffle. What an afternoon!
The moon cake festival will always be remembered as a golden occasion to be close again to Taiwanese culture and thus far, it is all about family. Everything is done to strengthen the bond between family members. That was my Moon Festival experience in Taiwan.