This last weekend I officially celebrated my first Mid Autumn Festival. It’s a holiday in China that normally takes place around September (officially it is the 15th day of the 8th lunar month) and is meant to celebrate family and friends. Unfortunately, in this day and age many Chinese live far away from their hometowns and their families and don’t have time to return home. Because of this many Chinese gather together and celebrate their friendship and fellowship together in their transplanted homes with, of course, food and moon viewing (the 15th day correlates with the full moon).
I am no different. I am thousands of miles away from the people I love and care about but I have a lot of new and wonderful friends here. My colleagues at the Cancer institute were kind enough to invite me to celebrate the holiday with them.
So I spent my Mid Autumn festival at Dragon Lake Park with my new friends. We ate delicious fruit, chips, beer, and they even had me run a quick class on how to make “American” sandwiches. They even got “American” cheese slices. Though they insisted I was wrong when I said ketchup on a ham and cheese sandwich is a little weird, they enjoyed the American cuisine nonetheless.
It was a beautiful time, my mentor Dr. Qiao explained that one of the beautiful parts about the Mid Autumn Festival is to watch the clouds chase the moon. He had even prepared a few songs on his phone to further illustrate his point. Lucky for us, the pollution in Beijing was almost non-existent, the moon was full, and it was gorgeous. Clouds were scant across the sky, but Dr. Qiao exclaimed in excitement when they began to come close to the moon.
It was a beautiful day and a wonderful night. And I am very happy I got to spend this traditional holiday with my new friends in China. The meaning behind the holiday is something I really enjoy and hope to bring back to the states as a reason each September to gather together and celebrate friendship.
Speaking of which, I miss you all! I hope you had a wonderful Mid-Autumn festival back in the states.