05 October 2009

Mid-Autumn Festival

Last Saturday was the Mid-Autumn Festival (中秋節, zhongqiu jie).

We don’t really celebrate it as much as most people here do, but we do do some of the more traditional things on this day and participate in the some of the festivities. We get lanterns for Josh and Zoë . We let them stay up later so that we could stay outside and moon-gaze along with other families, play with lanterns and glow sticks, and just generally have a bit of moonlit fun.

A month or so before the Mid-Autumn Festival, there will be ads popping up everywhere for mooncakes. We’re not too fond of mooncakes, so you won’t see any at our home. Josh had his first taste of mooncake on Wednesday –at school. (I guess I was wrong about schools not giving mooncakes as snacks!). What he had was a "snowskin mooncake" or "ice-skin mooncakes" (冰皮月餅). And he told me that he loved it. His teacher actually wrote on his handbook that he enjoyed the mooncake very much.

At about the same time you’ll see ads for mooncakes, stationery stores and street hawkers start putting lanterns on prominent display. The traditional lanterns are made of paper, usually round, fan-fold. Others are shaped like fruits (star fruit) and animals (rabbit, fish, butterfly). In olden days, candles are used to light up the lanterns, but modern safety concern has brought in battery-powered plastic lanterns with popular cartoon characters (e.g. Hello Kitty, Thomas the Tank Engine, Ultraman). Call me old-fashioned, but I like the traditional ones better.

Here is a lantern that someone hung on a tree downstairs.

What’s a post about the Mid-Autumn Festival without a shot of the full moon? My lame attempt at taking a photograph of the full moon… I tried.

Somehow glow sticks have made it into modern Mid-Autumn Festival festivities. Both Josh and Zoë had more fun with these than with their lanterns.
zoe with neon halo

(Sorry, I just had to show you the back of her shirt, too!)

Here is Zoë fascinated with another kid’s lantern… a Hello Kitty one that does somersaults!

Both Josh and Zoë went to bed with their glow sticks: Zoë wearing hers on her arms; Josh hung his above his bed.


blueviolet said...

This is so fabulous. I love that the kids can feel a part of it!

HeartsMakeFamilies said...

This is so great. She is so adorable.

Please stop by my blog. I left you an award. Congrats.

Leslie said...

love that shirt!!! i love your pics and your blog you take me to where you live from right here in my seat in the USA!

Chocolate Covered Daydreams said...

I wish we had such wonderful traditions and celebrations. It's the simple things that bring on happiness. Do you have trick or treating there?

Jenjen @GottaLoveMom said...

Looks like fun...love mooncakes! What about I Love Mom (gottalovemom) teeshirt!
Have a great week!

Veronica Lee said...

I love the pic with the fish lantern!!

Helene said...

Sounds like a wonderful celebration with lots of fun activities for the kids!

I think your pic of the full moon is beautiful...last time I tried to take a pic of the moon, it looked horrible!

Life with Kaishon said...

I think your full moon picture rocks : ) and that shirt is too adorable for words. AND I would like a mooncake right this second :) Your children are SO sweet. I just can't take the adorable ness : )

Lindy said...

Love the shirt!

A lantern that does somersaults? Wow-I'm impressed too.

Aunt LoLo said...

Oh, how fun!!! That fish lantern is just GORGEOUS. We had a clear night on Thursday - the moon was so bright I couldn't sleep. Friday night was clear. Sunday night was clear.

Saturday night was foggy and cloudy. Heh. No moon gazing for us!

golonghorns said...

That looks like a fun event!

Elle Bee said...

THree things:

1We LOVE glow sticks here too.
2Zoe's shirt is awesome, I want one for my kids!
3That fish lantern is NEAT!! I want one of those too.

!!The Obnoxious SAHM!! said...

Looks like a bunch of fun! CUTE SHIRT she has on!!

JennyMac said...

How adorable is that shirt? SUCH a cutie pie.

Alicia said...

I love all those lanterns! How fun it would be to hang them up outside!!

And your daughter is just too precious!!!!!

Carey-Life in the Carpool Lane said...

Love your neighbor's fish lantern...very cute! Thanks for bring a piece of Hong Kong through my computer screen. We are "in line" to adopt our daughter from China so I love learning about mooncakes and lanterns!

Mahmee said...

I hear ya on the moon cakes...not a big fan either. My child was 'lucky' enough to experience the word of pop-tarts at school (of all places!) last week during snack time. Blech! Moon cakes and pop-tarts are kind of on the same level for me.
At our house...glow sticks rock too! Zoe looks fabulous in hers.
Happy autumn moon.

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