My first year and new life in Taiwan started with amazing experiences, like the Welcome and Farewell Dinner by TaiwanICDF, the beginning of one history out of my country, many expectations about: food, life style, new friends, knowing more about Taiwan Culture and experiences of the people here. Besides, learning a wonderful language which is so difficult, like writing and of course the 4 tones of pronounciation of Chinese Language, and doing the courses of my Master.
 
I was thinking that Taiwan is so different and strange in comparison with my country (Nicaragua) but it isn’tTaiwanese people are kind, friendly and help me all the time that I fall lost in my college or even in the streets, now I feel like really Taiwan Touch my Heart and here is My Second Home.
 
Wondering about what happens with the culture? What I could learn about the holidays? And finally I have the answer with my first holiday in Taiwan “Moon Festival”I didn’t know what the meaning of this day is; some friends told me that it is one of the major holidays and ancient tradition. This day, you can see the full moon especially like other occasion, also is known the Mid-Autumn Festival or in Chinese Zhongqiu Festival (中秋節) dating back over 3,000 yearsI felt harmonious atmosphere in this holiday peaceful.   
 
Other friends told me that this day carries magical power and peace in their hearts. I have the opportunity to see many families meeting in their houses cooking in the moonlight and also I saw that people gathering together after work for moon appreciation parties, eat mooncakes, pomelons (grapefruit) while children play fireworks.
 
This celebration I started sharing one day before with my professor Cheng Wei Che and my classmates in the course of Agricultural Marketing at NTU. The professor gave us moon cakes of soybeans and meat just to try and share the meaning of this holiday. The taste of these moon cakes was good, sweeter and spicy, with no comparison to Nicaragua because there the cakes are sweet and made by flour and species but not too sweet. Also our Department in NTU by my manager Project Rita Chiang gave us delicious moon cakes made by pineapple and soybeans. My favorite was the pineapple moon cake (really special).
 
I reminded something special that my professor mentioned that one of the cakes that we ate was named the empire cake. And sometime ago just only the royal family ate it but now you can see it in the bakery and very easy to buy. This is part of ancient history in Taiwan.
 
I observed another interesting thing about this holiday that all bakeries have many varieties of mooncakes days before this festival. I wanted to know what are they made of so I asked in one bakery at Taipei Main Station and one girl told me that mooncakesare stored in beautiful lacquer boxes constructed in various animal shapes. And they are piled high in pyramid shape exactly 13 times high. Of course it has a special meaning- representing the 13 lunar months in the Chinese calendar year. The mooncakes really look labored and also the package is special, like a gift.
 
All the international students spent time together. That day I was sharing the moonlight with two friends from Nicaragua. When I was walking to one MRT Station, I saw many types of lanterns - so colorful and animal-shaped paper lanterns – to decorate houses. And there was just one altar that was adorned with five dishes of round fruitsI passed far distance from that place so I think they were: apples, peaches, pomegranates, grapes and small melons.
 
When I came back to my dorm I observed the moon, I can’t describe by any words, it was really nice like a magic moment. The moon looked really big, beautiful and shiny. The climate was magnificent.You only could see the moon.  Stars in that night weren’t shining like the moonI felt special that day. Here at NTU I saw many people sharing with families, gathering to relax, giving thanks, celebrating family unity and viewing the moon.
 
I think that I will preserve this festival in my heartI expecting to know more about Taiwan History. Thanks Taiwan for sharing the MOON FESTIVAL with me!!!!!

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NTU - Fatima Caceres Santamaria.doc81 KB