The Moon festival or Mid-autumn festival was my first experience of a Chinese feast in Taiwan, having arrived at this beautiful country just few weeks before the festival. Few days before the feast which falls on the 22nd September this year, everyone in town were busy talking about the significance of this great festival. Even our professors in class took time to explain the immense important of the feast and how symbolic it is to the Chinese people. Since we were not familiar with Chinese culture, I was eager to find out what this feast was all about. I was really touched by the manner in which everyone had something positive to say about this great Chinese tradition.  
 
The gift of a moon cake during this festival is a symbolic gesture and tradition. On the eve of the moon festival, we received gift of moon cakes from our ICDF project manager Rita.  She gave all students on ICDF scholarship four (4) pieces of delicious moon cakes. On that same day during our Agricultural Marketing class with Professor Cheng-Wei Chen, he also shared different recipes of moon cakes to the class. Dr Chen explained to us the importance of each of the cakes and their nutritional value. My school volunteer also gave me some appetizing moon cakes in observance on the festival.
I was really impressed by all these magnanimous symbolic gestures and benevolence which goes to show how hospitable, cordial, generous and jovial the people of Taiwan are to other nationals since we live in the era of globalization. Feasts in my county (The Gambia) are symbolized by “merry making”, shearing, caring and deep reflections.  Here I am in Taiwan miles away from home but experiencing the same feelings and values as expressed during feast and festivals period in my country, indeed humanity is one. We are different peoples of the world but even in diversity we have similarities.
 
I was curious since everyone was giving out moon cakes to friends, colleagues, associates and love ones. So I had to ask, how the idea of moon cake shearing all started.  According to folk legend, the custom of eating moon cakes began in the late Yuan dynasty (A.D. 1280-1368). The Han people of that time resented the Mongol rule of the Yuan Dynasty and revolutionaries. Their leader Chu Yuan-chang plotted how to coordinate the rebellion without being discovered. Knowing that the Moon Festival was drawing near, Chu ordered the making of special cakes. Backed into each moon cake was the message "Revolt on the fifteenth of the eighth moon." On the night of the Moon Festival, the rebels successfully attached and overthrew the government. Today, moon cakes are eaten to commemorate this legend.
I was also informed that for generations, moon cakes have been made with sweet fillings of nuts, melon seeds, almonds, mashed red beans, lotus-seed paste or Chinese dates, wrapped in a pastry. I was also told that nowadays Chinese moon cakes have been made into different shapes and sizes. Such fillings as minced meats or a golden yolk from a salted duck egg placed at the center of each cake, and the golden brown crust was decorated with symbols of the festival.   

I asked my Taiwanese friends how people celebrated the Moon festival in Taiwan, just to have an impression of what takes place on such occasion and how families celebrate such events. I was reliably informed by my Taiwanese friends and colleagues that the Chinese people value moon festival just as the Americans and Europeans value Christmas. On the day of the feast family bake moon cakes and prepare barbeque meal and other special Chinese traditional food. Most families go to the mountains to watch the moon since it is in mid-autumn. On a final note my experience was a unique opportunity to learn more and comprehend this great Chinese culture and tradition.   

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