15 Sep 2008

Mid-Autumn Festival (in Spring...)

Yesterday was Mid-Autumn Festival - also known as the Moon Festival - a popular Chinese traditional celebration dating back over 3000 years.

It falls on the 15th day of the 8th lunar month of the Chinese calendar, a date which appears to be the full moon nearest the equinox (but I may be wrong there!).

The traditional food of this festival is the delicious mooncake of which there are many different varieties. Typical mooncakes are beautifully decorated round or rectangular pastries, about 10 cm in diameter, with a filling made from a paste of dried lotus seeds. Some of them contain yolks from salted duck eggs, and they are sold in zero, one and two yolk varieties. They are extremely rich, very delicious, and are usually eaten in small wedges along with a cup of Chinese tea.

Traditionally, on this day, Chinese family members and friends gather to admire the bright mid-autumn harvest moon, and eat moon cakes together, outside under the moon. They also burn incense to various Chinese deities.

We have a tradition of celebrating this festival in our family too. In our home we too eat our mooncakes outside under the full mid-Spring moon, washed down with cups of Chinese tea.

Traditions create memories, and we have many in our family. Along with the usual - Christmas, Easter, birthdays and the like, we have also adapted a number of Asian celebrations so that they fit in with our beliefs. Asian cultures - particularly the Japanese have a far greater appreciation of the artistry of nature - and we adapt their traditions so that we can better appreciate God as creator of the world.

On the evening of the Mid-Autumn Festival, we view the moon through binoculars and try to take crisp photos with our camera while remembering our Creator and his wonderful creation.

When I consider your heavens,
the work of your fingers,
the moon and the stars,
which you have set in place,
what is man that you are mindful of him,
the son of man that you care for him?

O Lord, our Lord,
how majestic is your name in all the earth!

Psalm 8:3-4,9

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