This Wednesday is Moon Festival / Mid- Autumn Festival. As my post earlier, I said I will explain a bit about it and share the festive food in class.
It is held on the 15th day of the 8th month of the Lunar calendar with the full moon at night. It’s an important traditional Chinese Festival which has been celebrated over 1000 years. Actually, not only Chinese Celebrate this festival, people from some other Asian countries also celebrate it. There are a lot of tales related to it, such as the Goddess Chang’e. However, I am not going to talk about these tales, I would like to talk about the values and custom.
The most important value of it is about gathering, such as family and friends coming together, or harvesting crops for the festival. It's said the moon is the brightest and roundest on this day which means family reunion. And this is the main reason why people think mid-autumn is important. Secondly, it is about thanksgiving, to give thanks for the harvest, or for harmonious unions, in another words, it is about gratitude. Finally, it is about praying (asking for conceptual or material satisfaction), such as for babies, a spouse, beauty, longevity, or for a good future. To me, I would see it as a time to connect with universe and our own inner voice, communicate with the cosmos instead of just asking for something.
About the food, we always share fruits and mooncakes with friends and family when we celebrate this festival. We always have pears, Sharon fruits, pomelos and bananas… Something more unique are star fruits and buffalo nuts.
What about Mooncake? Most mooncakes consist of a thin, tender pastry skin enveloping a sweet, dense filling, and may contain one or more whole salted egg yolks in their center as the symbol of the full moon. The filling is Jujube paste, lotus seed paste, sweet bean paste and/ or smashed nuts. To me, as a vegetarian, I only eat the mooncake without eggs and made of vegetable oil.
Traditional mooncakes have an imprint on top consisting of the Chinese character for “longevity" or "harmony", as well as the name of the bakery and the filling inside. Imprints of the moon, The Goddess Chang’e, flowers, vines, or a rabbit (symbol of the moon) may surround the characters for additional decoration.
About custom, gazing or appreciating the moon and having fruit and mooncake after dinner. Carrying the lanterns to have a walk or decorating the home with lanterns is part of the custom. The traditional lanterns are made of paper and bamboo sticks and they are hand-made. The modern lanterns are made of plastic and with cartoon images on it.
This is an important value in Chinese culture, because we treasure the family a lot, we put family needs in front of individual’s need. We treasure the reunion with family members. Also, China was an agriculture-based society, so it is very important to celebrate the harvest and send the gratitude to the universe.
To be honest, these values are emphasised in a lot of ethnicity as well, not Chinese only. To me, as a yoga teacher and as a Chinese, I really would like to introduce you to my culture and apply it in our practice, no matter in class or in life.
See you in class on Wednesday at Antenna 10:35am-11:50am.