The Moon Festival, like other events such as the Chinese New Year, is a cornerstone of the Chinese culture and tradition. Moon Festival would be my first experience with Taiwanese traditional celebrations since arriving in late August 2010. Yes! I’m a newbie and I was more than excited to see what this Festival would bring. I had all kinds of thoughts and images running through my mind. Would it be like what is shown on TV? Would there be big celebrations or parades in the City? I went to my best friend, Google, to find out more. My research showed that the Moon Festival is often celebrated on the 15th of the 8th lunar month. It's also known as the Mid-autumn Festival. “Moon Festival is where we come together with family and friends, Barbecue, eat moon cakes, pomelo and enjoy the moon” summed up Yi-Ying, my Taiwanese friend. “Hmmm, this seems to be similar to how Thanksgiving and Christmas is celebrated back in the West” I thought.
My friend went on to tell me that in fact there are several legends associated with the Moon Festival. She told me of the Story of the Lady Chang-Er. “The earth once had ten suns circling over it; each took its turn to illuminate to the earth. But one day all ten suns appeared together, scorching the earth with their heat. The earth was saved by a strong and cruel archer, Hou-Yi, who shot down nine of the suns. One day, Hou-Yi stole the potion of life from a goddess. However, his beautiful wife, Chang-Er, drank the potion of life in order to save the people from her husband's oppressive rule. After drinking it, she found herself floating and flew to the moon. Hou-Yi loved his divinely beautiful wife so much that he didn't shoot down the moon. Tale has it that you might see her dancing on the moon during Moon Festival.”
This was certainly interesting and with great enthusiasm I looked forward to the Moon Festival. Well, interestingly on the same day of the Moon Festival was my country’s independence. My friends and I decided to have a “Belize Independence Moon Festival celebration” as we would later coin it. We went to the supermarket and shopped our moon cakes, barbecue essentials, and prepared for a great night with friends. Shopping was interesting. The supermarket was packed with others also trying to steal a deal on barbecue essentials and moon cakes.
As Moon Festival day came, friends and family came over as the barbecue and party started. We kicked off the evening by toasting a Happy Independence to Belize and a Happy Moon Festival to all our friends. Later, we prepared our Barbecue plates and dug in. Sharing stories of what brought us to Taiwan and what we most look forward to. Our Taiwanese friends shared past experiences and of course gave us tips on things to do while in Taiwan. It was indeed a fun evening and an evening of Thanksgiving. I couldn’t help but remember my Sixth grade teacher who always reminded her students to be thankful always for the people around you. Thank you Mrs. Young!
The moon loomed in the backdrop over the Taiwanese sky. I looked up at the moon for a moment and was reminded of Yi-Ying’s summation of Moon Festival. Indeed, it’s always important to cherish family and friends. To take some time out of our busy schedules to be with the people who make our life a great one. Giving thanks for the people who are there both in good times and bad times, in times of sorrow and in times of celebration. With a gazing look at the moon I gave thanks for family and friends back home and for my new family in Taiwan.

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