One of my favorite times of the year is the fall. It cannot get better with the temperatures cooling down, getting back into the groove of life, and of course seeing friends. Part of the fall is a time to BBQ, eat food, and have some fun with friends. Taiwan has a great holiday to do all this in. It is called Moon Festival.
Moon Festival is another name of Mid-Autumn Festival. It is suppose to be the 15th day of the 8th month after the new year. Since the Chinese New Year is different every year, we have a different day for Moon Festival every year. Moon Festival is basically the harvest festival of Taiwan. It is an old Chinese custom holiday.
(My Uncle John Shreve was gracious enough to let us use his moon shot. He is a great photographer.)
The 3 Fundamentals of Moon Festival:
Bring together the family and friends. It was a day to bring crops together from the harvest, but it is also a time to gather your family and friends together for celebration.
It is a time to give thanks for harvest and harmonious unions.
People pray for their babies, spouse, and family.
In a Nutshell:
Basically, it is a celebration like the American Thanksgiving. Everyone has the day off and people load the streets with BBQs and grills ready to make a ton of food. They will eat food, drink beer, eat moon cakes, and just have a good time. What more can you want on a day in Fall.
Most holidays have traditions. It has food you eat, things you do, and customs that most people follow. Moon Festival does the same thing. Here are some of the traditions associated with Moon Festival.
One of the biggest, and my favorite tradition, is the BBQ. So Taiwanese people on Moon Festival will gather their friends and family and grill out and BBQ food.
This is a great time to gather friends, load up your house with tons of vegetables, and plenty of friends to eat all of the food.
As a westerner from the Southern Part of the United States. I love this. You can light up your grill, cook some food, and maybe have the sweet aroma of smoke attached to your clothing. Plus it is a ton of food that you just keep eating for hours on end.
I do have to admit that the Taiwanese do put in a lot of labor to their BBQ. Lots of times, there is cheap coal that either takes a long time to light, or is labor intensive to keep lit as the cooking keeps going. I have found that the Japanese Charcoal lasts longer, but may be a bit more expensive.
There is also the BBQ sauce. This is not like the sauce most people think of in the states as BBQ sauce. This is a sweet sauce that they just use to put on all the vegetables and meat. It tastes good, and you paint brushes to baste it on. I say YUM!!
We wanted to host one under a bridge in Taipei this year, but the day of we had not many people respond so we would be going to someone else’s. As luck had it, many people responded and said they wanted to come just two hours beforehand.
We quickly changed the location to our balcony, cleaned the house, started the charcoal and we were ready.
We had two grills and two grill masters (thanks to my friend Vance for helping). Sausage, wings, pork, steak, prawns, and plenty of vegetables to thrown on the grill and eat. Plus someone brought some beer. Lets just say we had a blast. We would do it again next year.
The Moon Cake:
Every year, Moon Cakes tend to be the dessert of choice. These tend to be round cakes with a filling inside like a egg yolk, red bean, or even custard.
If you are lucky you may have a friend give you some pineapple cakes. I was lucky this year, he thought his mom gave us moon cakes. (I love some pineapple cakes).
Last tradition is that eating of Pomelos. Living in Taiwan, there happens to be seasons for fruit. Summer time is mango time. When we have Moon Festival, we eat Pomelos.
Pomelos are a big green fruit that looks like a grapefruit inside. They taste delicious. They are bit sweet, and just enjoyable to eat. We still have three at our house, which means more eating and less chatting.
Most cultures have their traditions and holidays. My favorite holidays are those that you are able to cook out some food, eat, drink, and enjoy some fun with family and friends. Americans have Thanksgiving. Australians have Australian Day, and the Taiwanese and Chinese do Moon Festival.
If you are in Taiwan in early fall between September and October make sure to go find a BBQ to join on Moon Festival. It is fun and enjoyable.
What are some of your favorite holidays you enjoy in other countries?
“Life is short and the world is wide.” – Simon Raven