Children also call it the Moon Cake Festival. Sounds romantic, huh?
When I was a child, my sisters and I held paper lanterns, and burned up a few too many of them when the candle within toppled. My father was always around to help put out the fire ... and to light another lantern for us. Nowadays, children lift battery-operated lanterns. Ehhh ~ that's too cute for me, not quaint or adventurous enough, I think. But ... I'll admit, batteries don't explode into flames that easily.
In my grandparents' times, the poetic elderly would sip tea, eat moon cakes and make up poems about the moon. Something like a Poetry Session. I think it must have been very cool! The themes: the moon, or Chang-E, the beautiful lady who stole her husband's elixir (a dark, pearl-like immortality pill), nibbled it and became so light she floated to the moon, thus separated from her husband forever. (I believe it was to warn us against Greed, and Thievery, and the main lesson: Reach for Immortality and Ye shalt be banished. To be alone. Forever!)
Even though I think the fable is a tad silly, I enjoy the romanticism of the celebration itself. Especially the parts about children in the neighbourhood gathering for an under-the-moon walk, the paper lanterns, the toppled candles, the fathers rushing in aid, the tea, the extremely sweet Chinese cakes with salted egg yolks, and the glancing up at the full, ivory egg yolk of a moon.
That's the cozy style of celebration in the neighbourhood. For elaborate styles, huge lanterns are lit and set on the river, and people flock to play games, including solving Chinese riddles.
How do you (and your child) celebrate the Moon Cake Festival?
For our overseas readers, did you know about this festival? Ever tried a mooncake?