Moon festival experiences….I have had two so far in Taiwan. I celebrated the last Moon festival with my classmates a few days after the actual festival. As I recalled, a group of us meeting at NTNU’s Linkou campus which had turned out to be a very memorable barbecue.

The barbecue was started at 4:30 pm. We began our celebrations by meeting in a classroom to learn something about the Moon festival. In the class one of my classmates made an entire PowerPoint presentation telling us how the moon festival came to be. The best story I have heard so far is this one: After the story telling, my classmates and I went down to the barbecue area to start the barbecue (more accurately, the burning of the food…at least in my case). There were about forty of us and we had five barbecue grills to work on. That was when it all started to get funny.

 First we needed to create a fire in the grills, so we divided ourselves into groups of eight. When I asked for kerosene to light the grill, to my surprise one of my Taiwanese classmates gave me what looked like a heresy’s kisses to start the fire (well actually I don’t know the name of the item). I was a little confused at the time and of course I expressed my ignorance by asking questions like what I was supposed to do with that? (And if everything was ok with him…. ). Anyway I tried it out. I put the item in the coals and set it on fire. In the beginning I thought it was talking too long so I decided to put six of these small items. Big mistake! When the fire started it was so hot flames started to shoot up. I had to get water to reduce the fire.

 For the actual barbecuing of the food, we brought chicken, pork, beef cutlets, corn, fish and mushrooms to barbecue. This was the first time I had ever barbecued mushrooms (part of my Taiwanese experiences). Everyone in my group barbecued different foods. When we finished our first set of barbecued food, one of my classmates from another group came to us and told us she wanted to sample the food to see it was made properly. She ended up sampling more than half the food we had grilled. At the end of it she concluded that we need more barbecue sauce…a fact that we had already known.

Since I was busy going from group to group to ensure everything was OK, I asked one of my classmates to barbecue some mushrooms for me. When I returned to my group she told me it was ready. I had a bite and it was like eating rubber (seriously…). What made it worse was that she asked me if I liked the mushrooms. Awkward moment! When she realizes I was not answering she gave me a look and everyone started to laugh.

Everyone was supposed to contribute to the grilling of the food. However, at some point I noticed some students sitting around whilst others were cooking. When I asked them why they were sitting they simply told me that they were just there to look good. (As to how well they did that job is still a matter of debate).

Anyway after the barbecue we had an evening of playing a few fun games. For example, we had to pass a balloon along a line from chin to chin. That was funny. We also had to tie a pen around our waist and hang it from our bottom and then put it in a bottle (I know it sounds weird but that’s what we did). And to end off the games we had to pill pommelos and put the skin on our heads. I was told that this was traditional Taiwanese activity during the moon festival.

When the barbecue was over we had a lot of food left over. Some of it was placed in the refrigerator and others were given to some of the students to take home. All in all I would say it was a good moon festival day. I also had the opportunity to spend time with friends and teachers and I met some new people. Hopefully I will get a chance to experience another moon festival.


NTNU-Peter Jean-Paul.doc6.66 MB