Oh my gosh! The Chinese Moon Festival is coming up and I totally cannot wait! Just think of the moon cakes, chestnuts, sweet potatoes, rice balls and the big feast (with lobster, shrimp and ect. ) when our relatives come over makes me drool. Oh, and walking with the toy lanterns at night (I guess I’m too old for that) I’m sorry, and I think I’m just too excited because the Chinese Moon Festival is my 2nd favorite holiday in Chinese custom and it’s coming up on September 22nd (this year)! It’s just 2 more weeks! In order to celebrate and have the spirit of the Moon Festival, you’ll need to know the story behind it.
There are lots of legends about it, but the one that my grandma tells me and my siblings each year has happened in Chinese history. Ok, so long, long ago when the Chinese was in war with the Mongols for rebellion, the Chinese was banned to have to discuss things together. This made it almost impossible to make plans and overthrow the Mongols. Knowing that the Mongols eat anything but moon cakes, this person called Zhu Luanzhang had an idea. He timed the plot to overthrow the Mongols. Then he asked permission to give out thousands of moon cakes to the Chinese residents of the city to bless the Mongol king with longevity.
However inside the moon cake had a paper that read:”kill the Mongols on the 15th day of the 8th month. ” So that night on the Moon Festival the Chinese successfully attacked and overthrow the Mongols. And this is why we celebrate the Moon Festival and eat moon cakes. Now that you know the story it’s time to learn how my family and I celebrate the Moon Festival. Every year BEFORE the Moon Festival we would have to visit our relatives and people that close to us with a box of moon cakes or money enough to buy a box of moon cakes if you forgot to get one. This shows that you respect them and bless them (expesscially to the elder ones).
Then a day before the Moon Festival my mom, little brother, little sister and I would go to China town and do some shopping. We would buy some food for the big dinner (last year we made lobster). Then we would buy moon cakes, chestnuts, peanuts, fruits, rice cakes, and rice balls. Then our mom would let us pick a toy lantern we like, for the night walk on the day of the Moon Festival (quick reference: lanterns symbolize good luck) On the big day, my sister and I have a really large chore, we would have to clean up and decorate almost the whole house and the yard. After cleaning up I would help my grandma cook. Her dishes are always the best!
This year my grandma plans to make crab, the soup, the rice and her famous fruit tart for desert. After cooking I would help my dad and grandpa to set up the tables at the yard. Later we would wait for the relatives to come and greet them. The relatives would bring in yummy dishes for the dinner or boxes of moon cakes. Then they would hug each other, talk, and ask really boring questions and comments (like Wow look how tall you grew). I would talk to my cousins around my age and the little kids will play together. After all the gibberish we would set all the dishes on the food tables in the yard. Then we feast! And talk.
For desert my grandma would serve moon cakes and fruit tart (for this year). After desert we would have a performance and every year our grandma would always hold a puppet show about the story of the Moon Festival (I have to admit my grandma is pretty cool). During the year my cousins, friends and I have been emailing each other to plan the performance. This year my sister and I are going to play a song called “The Moon Symbolizes My Heart” on the violin. When the performance is done, it’s time for everyone to go home. After everyone leaves, my dad will bring my siblings and me for a walk with our lanterns and admire the beautiful full moon.
Then we would clean up some of the things and leave the rest for tomorrow. I have to tell you, it’s really tiring. But it’s worth it. It’s nice to see my relatives for so long. And I love the food. And it’s great to get to know more about my relatives. I think it is really fun playing with my cousins. Oh yes, since I’m the teacher, you will have a homework assignment. I would want you to do something for the Moon Festival like try some moon cakes, have a family dinner, buy or make a lantern and have a stroll at night, or tell about the moon festival to other people. Like I told you, that the moon festival is 14 days later and I can’t wait!
Courtney from Study Moose
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