Long time ago since I was young, our Chinese family used to have a party at night offered foods, sweets and respect to the full moon on the Chinese Full Moon Ceremony. Similar to many Chinese festivals, the whole families’ members gather at our great-grandparents celebrated a large dinner together. I really mean a large one; imagine a family of the grandparent who had 12 children, plus some of their grandchildren…all together.
It was around 7.00 PM when the sky was getting dark and the full moon day of the eight month of the lunar calendar (around September) shining bright. My grandparent’s bread factory was then cleared some of their working area and cooking equipments aside, the two large cooking wooden tables cleaned and clear turning into dining tables: one for men and the other for wemen. The grandchildren were running around and had a mat on the floor to eat in a giggle circle.
As the famous Teochew (Chaozhou)’s Chinese foods, I still remember some of the very simple food but great delicious. My one special plate I remember had only cooked bean to eat with rice, and it was nothing can compare. Remember next time you are going to any famous Chinese restaurant, order a look simple plate or soup because the simply is the best.
Maybe it was delicious because eating around cousins.
At the time, I was too young to remember when it was and what the party was for. But noticed the special of the day with one special table, decorated with Chinese paper, foods, sweets, candles, placed in the center of the factory at the open area. It’s then the first thing we have to do: to pay respect with incents, to pray to the moon.
According to Wikipedia, the Moon Festival or Mid-Autumn Festival was originated in China to celebrate the crop season. Some places decorated with red lanterns and dragon show. And the modern symbol of this festival is the moon cake.
And why pay respect to the moon?
There’s a legend about the moon’s angel name Chang-Er who was in love with an archer angel. It was a time that in the paradise had 10 moons and the archer angel destroyed 9 of them by his arrows. They were then expelled to the earth as humen and the archer angel killed by his betrayed friend. Chang-Er found access to the eternal life’s water and ascended back to the sky to live in a lonely moon.
It’s believed that the Chinese pray to the moon angel asked for the beauty and eternal young as her.
But it’s not necessary to see the moon or to pray exactly when the moon shine, for me, it was in a mood of respect to any angel. And for a boy, it’s much more fun waiting to play with boy’s cousins after dinner. I was playing around while notice the men’s uncles and uncles in law had a joyful chat on that male table with alcohol. Maybe that was a reason we had to play and eat separated.
I didn’t remember if there was a moon cake presented, but it’s probably not the real reason behind that festival.
Boys praying with family in Hong Kong famous’ Wang Ta Sian Temple
Actually, there is a Chinese words say “A man’s achievement depend on 30% luck and 70% effort”.
I was dreamed that one day I would join that male table with my cousins and probably old uncles.
But time passed by, many of us moved to other provinces with their children and the great sadness of all is that we never organized that kind of great dinner again since the great-grandparents and grandparents passed away, the whole families changed.
In Bangkok I was walked pass a neighborhood local market where they still had a Chinese opera to celebrate the festival. Only some handful of old persons and children attended the show, most of us now used to the 100+ channels cable TV and cinema. But I was there for a while missing my grandfather and my childhood’s temple fair.
I can’t see the big moon this year to ask for my young skin, maybe Shang-Er would instead recommend some facial surgeries, Botox, filer or whitening creams.
I just missed the blue lonely moon which called us together to have a romantic and joyful dinner.
Maybe we were prayed for her loneliness and for ours, or the old generations wanted us to remember them, to join that happiness every time the moon full…again.
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