September 30th was the beginning of a week long series of activities all over China. This year a great phenomenon occurred in China – the annual Mid-Autumn Festival, which occurs based on the lunar calendar, coincided with the National Holiday, which gave Chinese Nationals an 8 day holiday. The Mid-Autumn Festival (some call it the Moon Festival as the moon is full when it occurs), is a time for families to come together, expressing gratitude and offering tributes to their ancestors. It occurs in mid-autumn to celebrate the harvest, giving praise and hopes of having a good harvest at the end of the planting season. It symbolizes the hope for abundance, harmony and good fortune. The Mid-Autumn Festival is celebrated not only in China but also in Thailand, South Korea, Vietnam and Singapore. The National Holiday on October 1st celebrates the 63rd anniversary of the establishment of the People’s Republic of China.
If you intend on traveling to China for a visit make sure it is not done when there is a national holiday. Travel within China can be HORRENDOUS! Last Saturday, when students began leaving campus to go home or other vacation spots, there were 9 million travelers using the rail system alone! Estimates say there will be a little over 75 million people traveling over the next few days celebrating the holiday. That’s like a third of America on the roads or in the air at one time! Just think about traveling on Thanksgiving day – lasting 8 days!
Anyway, one of the gifts given for the Mid-Autumn Festival is a Moon Cake. It’s hard to describe but in the immortal words of Forrest Gump’s mother, “it’s like a box of chocolates. You don’t know what you’ll find inside”. So…..here are a couple of pictures of the tin I received with my Moon Cakes, with a picture of them on the tin. They could be filled with fruit or meat and/or eggs, or in the case of HaagenDaz – ice cream (more on that later). You can only get one when the Autumn Festival occurs so if you miss out – oh well, maybe next year!