On October 4th, 2017, Taiwan celebrated the Mid-Autumn Festival. In Chinese, we call it 中秋節 Zhongqiu Jie and it’s celebrated on the 15th day of the 8th month on the lunar calendar when there is a full moon. Every year, one of my aunts hosts a barbecue at her house and invites all our family members to join.
A little history about the mid-autumn festival:
- The mid-autumn festival originated during the Shang Dynasty when people worshipped the moon after a harvest and offerings were made to a well-known lunar deity, Chang’e, known as the Moon Goddess of Immortality.
- Only upper-class families and high officials celebrated the festival during the Zhou Dynasty.
- It became conventional for ordinary people to celebrate the mid-autumn festival during the Tang Dynasty.
Mid-Autumn Festival celebrates three central concepts that are connected to:
- Gathering, when family and friends come together or harvesting crops for the festival. It is believed that a round and bright moon symbolizes family reunion.
- Thanksgiving, giving thanks for the harvest or harmonious unions.
- Praying (asking for conceptual or material satisfaction) such as for babies, a spouse, beauty, longevity, or for a good future.
Watching the moon is a tradition that is observed, a symbol of harmony and unity.
In Taiwan, some common traditions involve getting together with family and friends for a barbecue, watching the moon, eating mooncakes and peeling pomelo (to eat). Barbecuing only became a popular thing to do in Taiwan a decade ago.
It is common to find families barbecuing in front of their house. The set up usually consists of everyone sitting on stools around the barbecue like above or sometimes even on the road if you live on a small street with little traffic. We had perfect weather this year for the barbecue – breezy and clear skies. Last year there was a typhoon so it was raining all night and it felt very cramped since there were so many of us.
The family prepared a ton of different foods for the barbecue that night like steak, pork, chicken satay (Thai style skewers), pork satay, squid, scallops, kimchi and much more!
SO OILY BUT SO GOOD. I had one and that was enough to satisfy my desire for this Taiwanese sausage. I didn’t take any photos of anything else I ate because I was too busy eating.
After the barbecue we played Cards Against Humanity. My cousin and I spent a lot of time and effort matching translations of the the cards printed out to the HUNDREDS of cards in the deck so that my family could play (most of them can’t read English). It was the first time my family played Cards Against Humanity and it was SO MUCH FUN. I worried that the humor wouldn’t translate and because it was an R-rated game, I thought maybe my family were more on the conservative side so they wouldn’t find it fun BUT WOW WAS I WRONG. Everyone loved it (even my aunt and mom), thought all the answers were hilarious and we had a good time.
I loved catching up with my family since we’re all usually busy with our own lives. I am grateful for the time we get to spend together because family is super important to me. In the end, the things you’ll remember the most are the relationships you built with your loved ones.
What are some activities you do when you get together with family? Let me know down in the comments!