Moon-cakes, pomelos, harvest time, and joyful family reunions – these are only a few words to describe the traditional mid-autumn celebration, also known as the Moon Festival. It is a special time of year when beauty, entertainment, happiness, and the values of Chinese culture are combined. In my experience at the Moon festival in Taiwan in September of 2010, I saw all that and much more.
Our event began at the Counselling Centre at our National Yang Ming University. The location was very easy to find and once were there, we were all greeted warmly by the local students, as well as the hosts. There was such great warmth to see our classmates there, and other familiar faces. Even more intriguing was the table filled with a wide variety of Chinese food. Since only a few people arrived to the event, I know there would be plenty left over food to go for a second round. To wash down such good food, we had a large barrel of refillable cold sweet black tea. The food, and the tea were so delicious, it almost made me want to cry.
However, this event was more than entertaining; it was also educational, in which I learned a lot about the Chinese culture. The story of the moon goddess and other Gods explained well the meaning of the Moon Day. It was interesting to see their religious basis of the moon goddess and the Earth god to which they would sacrifice and wish for another successful year. We had so much laughter during the theatrical acting by the local students. After the show, the speaker further explained the meaning of the Moon Festival was to cherish a time for families and family activities, such as barbeques and admiring the full moon together. We were given a chance to see and taste the Pomelo fruit, as well as how to kill it. Hence, I took a photo of it using my phone. In addition to Pomelos, we were offered a few selections of Moon cakes. I ate quite a few, then later I realized how much calories each one had, then regret hit me.
The Moon festival is comparatively similar to a combination of three of the western world’s major holidays: Thanksgiving (because it reflects enjoying the gains from a successful harvest), Halloween (simply because the lanterns and night sky are also a big part of the Moon festival), and Christmas (which in the Americas is characterized by joyous family get-togethers and great food). The Moon festival seems like such a great event because it signifies so much. We are international students, mainly of modern cultural backgrounds so we are honoured to experience the unique blend of food with culture, and immerse ourselves in a language that has been spoken over thousands of years. The Taiwanese people have been so kind to us.
Participating in such an event made me realize that we should never take so many things for granted. We are blessed with great families, good food, and a beautiful moon to light up our sky at night. Our daily lives are so busy, and most of us forgot to admire the beauty of the heavens at night, with the moon and stars. We should simply be happy for what we have. And rather than being selfish or ignorant about all that we’ve been blessed with, we can always give thanks to nature and to God for providing that for us and share our joy with others. I saw bright smiles on all the faces and I sensed such a happy atmosphere. If we would all learn to focus on the pleasant things in life and appreciate what we have, we could always find happiness.

NYMU-Miguel Jose Rivero.doc866 KB