The gathering of friends and family, the smell of barbecues lingering in the air, the giving and receiving [and often re-gifting] of moon cakes among colleagues, friends, and family, the careful cutting and artistic peeling of pomelos, the modeling of ‘pomelo hats’ by kids and the young at heart…!!
Yes!! All of the above signals the arrival of Moon Festival (often called Mid-Autumn Festival), a holiday that is looked forward to and enjoyed by Taiwanese.
The festival is rooted in ancient Chinese mythology and there are several variations to the story. It is celebrated on the 15th day of the 8th month of the lunar calendar. This year it falls on Thursday, September 15th, 2016 (which is tomorrow if you haven’t noticed!!)
Supermarkets and warehouse outlets take advantage of this festival to increase sales by lining their aisles with barbecue products and essentials. Extra room is made on the shelves and in the coolers and fridges for meat, drinks, veggies, and food commonly consumed while barbecuing during Moon Festival!
Bakeries and stores selling moon cakes give their products an extra push during this season by providing samples and attractive displays.
Pomelos are bought by the boxes and are shared amongst family and friends and are often given as gifts.
There is a buzz of activity everywhere. Long lines are the norm as shoppers buy barbecue items, moon cakes, and pomelos.
So if you are in Taiwan during these next few days, barbecue to your heart’s content, eat pomelos while modeling a pomelo hat, and enjoy moon cakes containing red bean, egg yolk, or my personal favorite, ice-cream!!!
With the forecasted typhoon making its way towards Taiwan, I don’t know if the moon will shine as bright as it did last year, but I can guarantee you that you won’t have an empty stomach by the end of the evening.
Happy Moon Festival everyone!! 中秋節快樂! [Zhōngqiū jié kuàilè!]