The year 2010 did not only transform my life by having an opportunity to travel to the Far East to study but offered me the unique opportunity to celebrate a feast unknown to me and the region I hail from. This feast that was celebrated in an admirable fashion was the Chinese Moon Festival. The celebration took place in the Linkou Campus of the National Taiwan Normal University, Taipei County where I also reside.
We had a couple of events to mark this particular Chinese festival. First and foremost, we assembled at the University’s administrative building where we were joined by our senior students. We took time to celebrate the birthdays of three of our colleagues whose birthdays fell around the period. They were all wished many happy returns, followed by the slicing of the usual birthday cake and the singing of the birthday song in English and Chinese respectively.
Soon afterwards a second year student who also happens to be a local student gave us a brief but interesting talk on the historical background and significance of the moon festival and how it is venerated by the Chinese community throughout the region .A video clip was also played to highlight and shed more light on the event which was not only interesting but fascinating.
This event we gathered takes place on the 15th of the 8th lunar month which is in September or early October in the Gregorian calendar. It’s also known as the Mid-autumn Festival. Chinese culture is said to be deeply imbedded in traditional festivals. Just like Christmas, Easter or Tobaski elsewhere, the Moon Festival is one of the most important traditional events for the Chinese.
The Moon Festival is full of legendary stories that largely have to do with a young girl named Chang Er, who flew to the moon where it is believed she has lived ever since .The festival is also an occasion for family reunions. When the full moon rises, families get together to watch the full moon, eat moon cakes, and sing moon poems. This explains why the Chinese are so fond of the Moon Festival.
The Moon Festival is also a romantic one. Lovers spend the night together tasting the delicious moon cake while watching the full moon .Even for a couple who can’t be together, they can still enjoy the night by watching the moon at the same time so it seems that they are together at the hour. A great number of poetry has been devoted to this romantic festival. Below is a picture of the typical moon cake.
The moon cakes in the box
The sighting of the moon was one of the parts I completely missed out .Surely, come the next moon festival it will be one of the activities I will prepare for, to watch the legend Chang Er dancing on the moon if not enjoy the beauty of nature .
We then moved as a group to the other side of the campus where we had a barbeque, a growing feature of this festival in this modern era I am made to understand. A lot of delicious items were provided that catered for the needs of students and lecturers alike, both local and international. The provisions included beef, chicken, pork, fish and a wide variety of well selected beverages just to name but a few. To make ourselves comfortable we quickly moved into sizable groups and set the stage ready to prepare the meal. Food was in abundance and everyone was at liberty to help themselves .Due to the occasion and also a strong sense of harmony individuals took it upon themselves to actively roast the various items.
The feasting lasted over two hours before we started interesting games that incredibly seem to have bonded us closer together. The group interacted in a cheerful and jubilant mood. It is worth to mention that the academic year had just began and a good number of us had just join the institute and were not familiar to each other .It will be an understatement to state the number of photos that was taken both during the feasting and the games. It was a memorable festival and a well spent evening.
A session during the barbeque
However, the day did not pass by without acquiring more understanding of a unique culture. As the program came to an end, the group did not hurriedly left the venue but equally spent time to ensure all the items brought to the venue were not only washed and packed but returned back to the school. It was so beautiful to see an amazing team work where everyone left satisfy. Not that this doesn’t happen elsewhere but the manner it happened without any command or supervision was really commendable. One of the strikingly things that happened was the fact that senior lecturers could be seen taking active part in the packing and cleaning activity .I did not mean it could not happen elsewhere but it will be hard to come by. Highly learned individuals taking time to join a cleaning activity after student’s activity was really amazing .A clear picture of a caring ,motherly atmosphere was portrayed where wisdom and the welfare of everyone was factored accurately.

NTNU-Francis Jatta.doc5.28 MB