Mid Autumn Festival
Mid Autumn Festival is celebrated on the 15th day of the 8th month of the Chinese calendar. It was meant to celebrate a successful harvest by the Chinese people and has also been link to the Han Chinese's uprising against the ruling Mongols at the end of the Yuan dynasty.
This festival is a great time to do night photography, as there are usually enthusiastic children running about with lanterns in their hands, which make for the perfect setting for a good picture. There is always an enthusiastic atmosphere in the air, and you can't help but surrender into the joy this festival brings with it. Who says you have to be Chinese to enjoy the moon cake festival?
As I mature, it is important for me not to forget the fun I have as a child. As the festival is coming to the end, my friends and I would make a wish for the next year. I am glad that the festival is not being neglected.
What I appreciated was that in the past few years, mooncake makers have recognised that there is a sizeable halal market to be tapped. Of course it makes good business sense, if you can sell more of your items then why not, right? Purists may scoff that the halal mooncakes do not taste the same as the non halal ones and I feel they just might have a point. But here is a bigger point, by having a halal version, we Muslims who are mostly non-Chinese here, have the opportunity to partake in a perfectly harmonious festival and to be able to taste food as delicious as mooncakes and also in the process to have an understanding of what the festival is about.
That kind of understanding is priceless. Here's to many more mooncakes! Salut!
My sister and me would then carry lanterns and go for a walk in the park with the full moon shining down on us! In the park, we would join other families to create our own valley of candles. Although we were more focus on interesting things such as starting our own mini bonfire or burning the leaves half the time, by the time the night has ended, the entire park would have been beautifully decorated with candles!
To me, MAF is more than just another Chinese festival. It has a special significance in my heart. My alma mater holds MAF Celebrations annually, and it is the time of the year when all students and teachers, young and old alike, current and former ones, return to the campus to celebrate as one family. The yearly celebrations are a way of allowing the alumni to return to the school, and to revel in the vibrant atmosphere and relive the good, old days spent there.
Oh MAF, how I miss you already!
For me, mid-autumn festival is always tied to a school event. This year our class organized a mini gathering for residents. It was pretty cool actually, a long night, with tired classmates manning booths and lots of teasings and laughters. It gave me a warm fuzzy feeling, like i was with family. It may be the moon, or the lanterns, but every year i feel like this with whoever i'm with. And of course, who can forget pomelos and mooncakes? (The ritz carlton ones are absolutely delish!)
So next year, grab your closest friends, sit under the moonlight, go over the chang e story you've heard a million times and munch on mooncakes. That sounds like a pretty awesome outing to me, you think?
I feel that the traditional aspect of this festival has been somewhat lost in Singapore though. Some people I know only remember this as "Mooncake Festival". I mean, sure, that's the highlight of it and I looove mooncakes too but one can at least respect its origins a little! Paper lanterns are also getting increasingly rare these days, which is sad because not playing with candles and risking burning your lanterns just makes for an incomplete childhood! And I absolutely hate those lanterns with annoying music so loud you can hear them from a mile away.
Still, there are many things to look forward to around every eighth lunar month - the pretty lantern light-up at Chinese Gardens and along the Singapore River, as well as the awesome, awesome mooncakes, with or without tea! And I always remind myself to look up to the moon to appreciate it on this special day every year.
It is the festival when mooncakes emerge from their months of dormancy, and are featured in bakeries of all sorts, ranging from typical neighbourhood bakeries to big franchises like Bengawan Solo.
Mid Autumn Festival used to be a big deal for me when I was younger, and I would downstairs to find my neighbours to play with coloured sparklers and paper lanterns.
However, over the years Mid Autumn Festival has definitely lost some of the hype that it once had, and I hardly see any kids carrying their paper lanterns about anymore. I attribute this to the forest burning that seems to perpetually occur around Mid Autumn Festival, and our local air fogs up so much that no parent in their right mind would allow their kids to head outside to play with sparklers and lanterns. Horrible!
Still a lovely festival worth the mention because it bears promises of delicious mooncake! Just a heads up, if you're thinking of giving mooncakes away, no one really eats the traditional ones anymore, so stop gifting them!
When we were younger, our 'celebrations' included playing with lanterns and candles with our neighbourhood kids. We ran around, played with sparkles and bomb bags, but as we grew up, our 'celebrations' were reduced to eating of mooncakes. There are times when I feel that Mid Autumn is like a chinese version of Christmas, it's about the buying and eating! And if you're feeling 'poetic,' let's take a look at the moon while we consume our mooncakes.
Of course, I'm not complaining. I love my mooncakes, and the fact that we are always spoilt with a variety of flavours and types of mooncakes is definitely a bonus to celebrate Mid Autumn Festival!