Tuesday, September 21, 2010


The story behind Moon Festival or Mid Autumn Festival is a convoluted, interesting, and totally made up story that spurs a family holiday night where good food and jubilation spring forth. Much like Christmas.

Here's one version of the Holiday:

Some archer shot down a bunch of suns and got some freaky pill that gives you immortality and his wife snorted it all at once and instead of living forever on Earth, she floated up to the moon.

Another one was some story about a fairy godfather type thing who asked some animals for some food (think witch in Beauty in the Beast that transformed the haughty prince in a beast for not giving her a place to crash) So the fairy thing asked a fox, a monkey and rabbit for food. Everyone had food to give except for the rabbit, who likes to eat rabbit food anyways? Hippies. Not hungry Asian faeries. So the rabbit did the only noble thing and jumped into a pot of stew and sacrificed itself.
The selfless rabbit now gets to be called the Jade Rabbit because it tasted so good and somehow gets to go the moon and live forever with the flying immortal chick. 

Now, all of this is barely true and to get the nicer, cleaner, more culturally sensitive, less rum and coke interpreted version I recommend Here or here.

What I do know about this lovely holiday is that it is actually a day off! Which is rare in this culture as even Chinese New Year days have to be made up on the weekends. Which means its not really a holiday at all, its a 'move this day to a weekend because you must actually put in X hours of work/school for society to function properly.' 

Mid Autumn Festival in Taiwan has the bonus of becoming a BBQ extravaganza! People sit outside, squat actually, next to a on the floor grill and watch the moon in all its glory and eat moon cakes and all kinds of delicious meat and veggies and random tofu things. 

In a country and culture where family is so important, where spending time together is negated by the demands of work/school/cram school, this one day is when no responsibilities cloud 'family time' and people can actually sit, cook a meal instead of bringing one home from a noodle vendor, and enjoy each others  company. 

I still have to work Saturday though. 

but not tomorrow! So let the rum and cokes flow!

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