Having the valuable opportunity to pursue my Ph.D. in Taiwan has exposed me to many Taiwanese traditions. The Moon Festival is one of them. The Moon Festival, also known as Mid-autumn Festival, is celebrated on the 15th day of the 8th lunar month. Taiwanese celebrated with family gatherings, eating moon cakes, and pealing and eating plenty pomelos. Every year, my University, National Pingtung University of Science and Technology (NPUST) together with the Department of Tropical Agriculture and International Cooperation (DTAIC), where I study, goes above and beyond celebrating with us the Moon Festival. We always do a pealing-pomelo competition, and NPUST’s President and faculties share good time with us. In addition, we taste delicious moon cakes.

The moon cakes, the ubiquitous delicacies pastries of the occasion—the ones I am picking in my Figure 1— are so delicious and easily obtained. I think every festival I eat dozens of them, in addition to many juicy pomelos, locally produced. Because of the Taiwanese’s generosity, I always have eaten moon cakes and pomelos as a treat.

 Last year, our University’s President, Dr. Mike Guu, spent time with us to celebrate the Moon Festival. He explained the meaning of the festivity and its symbolism.

Also, he shared the legendary story that a beautiful lady, Chang Er (嫦娥), flew to the moon to live forever. In addition, I learned how her husband Ho I (后羿 ) shot down, with his bow, nine of the ten suns in the sky, and saved the Earth from a disaster and became a mankind hero.

Figure 1. Selecting moon cakes in NPUST- DTAIC celebration of Moon Festival

According to history, he explained, moon cakes were widely used, during the end of the Yuang dynasty, to secretly distribute messages to overthrown the Mongolian rulers from China. Moon cakes are small cakes with an egg yolk inside. I really enjoy them.

 

 

 

This year, I spent the Moon Festival with my friends having barbecue (Figure 2), a well established tradition for Taiwan’s family. During this festival, Taiwanese usually eat outdoors at night, under the moonlight. I had the marvelous experience this year to watch the full moon eating barbecue squids, sausages, and grilled duck (traditional dishes for the festival).

Finally, the Moon Festival always gives me the chance to live and experience the bonds that Taiwanese families have, and their kindness and hospitality they spontaneously give to foreigners. Moon Festival, a great time for me. 

 

 

Figure 2. Celebrating the Moon Festival with my NPUST’s alumni friends in Pingtung. From left to right: Javier García (Panamá), Stanley Mcdaniel (Honduras), Fernando Peña Barrios (Guatemala), Olivia García (Taiwan-Panamá, Javier’s daughter), David Mitchell (El Salvador), and I, Edgardo Reyes Calderon.

 

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NPUST - Edgardo Reyes 柯德隆.doc5.06 MB