Saturday, September 18, 2010

Getting Ready for the Moon Festival

Mid-Autumn (or Moon Festival) is next week Wednesday! We're planning on celebrating with my sister's family- traditionally, families gather at night for picnics and moon-gazing on hilltops and in parks. Children might get lanterns to run around with, and people gift others with round fruits, like pomegranates, citrus, etc. The round reminds them of the moon, and gifting families with round fruits also shows your desire that their family will be whole and complete. Families eat moon cakes (very rich, buttery pastry cakes, with a round center of lotus bean paste or egg yolk.) The moon cakes traditionally have pictures imprinted on the top of various pictures having to do with the store of Chang-E, the Moon Princess. The moon is nice and full and bright, the harvest is in, and it's time to celebrate!

We've checked a few books out from the library to get my girls ready to celebrate- we're planning a daytime celebration with their cousins.

The Pet Dragon, by Cristoph Niemann- a really clever story about a girl and her pet dragon. Each page has a character or piece of the picture formed around the Chinese character for that same character or object, it's been a nice introduction into the Chinese use of symbols instead of letters. Ernie practiced drawing a few of her favorites (as you can see in the picture.)

Lin Yi's Lantern, by Brenda Williams and Benjamin Lacombe- A little boy is sent to the market to purchase everything they need for their Moon Festival celebration. He needs moon cakes, star fruit, rice yams....and peanuts for Uncle Hui, because they're his favorite. His mother says if he bargains well, he can use the rest of his money to purchase a red rabbit lantern! It's a very sweet story.

Red Eggs and Dragon Boats, by Carol Stepanchuk- A synopsis of various Chinese holidays and festivals, with nice little insets of trivia and recipes.

Food and Festivals: China, by Amy Shui and Stuart Thompson- Another run down of food and festivals in China, this one has photographs, and trivia and recipes as well.
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Aunt LoLo said...

Looking forward to it!!

Su said...

Very fun. I have fond memories of lantern festivals. Of course, it may have to do with the fact that our parents actually let us walk around with lanterns with Real Candles. Real Fire!! :)
After our walk, we actually get to burn those paper lanterns..... ahhhh....children are natural firebugs.

Teresa said...

I've never heard of anything like that before....
sounds fun

Elizabeth said...

I've never heard of this before. It sounds a lot like celebrating Mid-Summer Eve. Will the moon be full on Wednesday, then? Thursday is the first day of Autumn, right...?

I had to check that on my calendar. It is!

So, how long has your family been celebrating this? It sounds like fun.

I might just have to do this. :)