Friday, September 24, 2010

Wow! The Mid-Autumn Festival Rocked!!!!!

Hey all,

Well, last night we went over to Macau to see what was happening for the Mid-Autumn or Moon Festival.  It had rained all day so we were lucky the rain eased off later on.  It was a bit misty now and then, but it didn't really rain on us.  It was nice and cool so we were able to enjoy ourselves without all the humidity.

Now as some of you probably know from other blogs I've done, this festival is very much like Thanksgiving in the USA.  Not a lot "activities" go on, it's more of a day to spend time with family and friends.  The background is interesting.  Taken from Wikipedia...  Click to read more.

Celebration of the Mid-Autumn Festival is strongly associated with the legend of Houyi and Chang'e, the Moon Goddess of Immortality. Tradition places these two figures from Chinese mythology at around 2200 BCE, during the reign of the legendary Emperor Yao, shortly after that of Huangdi. Unlike many lunar deities in other cultures who personify the moon, Chang'e simply lives on the moon but is not the moon per se.

So, as soon as Jonathon got off work, we jumped on a bus and headed over to Senado Square, one of the main tourist areas of Macau.  We were looking forward to seeing all the decorations they've put all over town as well as just wandering.

At the square, they have laterns, flowers and pandas hanging everywhere.  They also have a huge castle set up in the center.  They are all made of this paper-thin material and twinkie lights are placed in and around them so they are quite beautiful when lit.

Once we had enjoyed the scenery there, we travelled to another square in town.  Tap Seac Square.  This was the location of the Chinese Lantern Festival.  They had dancing, more decorations and activites that unfortunately were partially rained out because of the weather that day.  But it went on again on Thursday and the weather was a bit better.  None the less we were able to see and experience things we never had before so for us it was wonderful.  As you can see, their decorations are amazing!

Afterwards, we wandered down to the waterfront where the fireworks were to be done.  We were there early and very few people were around.  We couldn't help but compare it to the American Fourth of July celebration where families claim their turf hours before the big event.  Picnic blankets, bbqs and chests of beverages would be everywhere.  But not here in Macau.

So, since there was no one around yet, we decided to go eat.  Wound up at this really great restaurant called Pokka Cafe.   It has reasonably priced food that was quite good, though the pumpkin sauce on my shrimp pasta was slightly blah.  Jonathon's Japanese pork curry was outstanding.  We wanted dessert, but were too full.  So when we go back next time, it will be just to get the gianormous banana split they have for less than five dollars!  YUM!

Anyway, headed back to the waterfront for fireworks and finally people were there.  The area had become quite festive with families laughing and lanterns bobbing.  Children pulled little animal shaped lanterns with (get this) real candles in them.  Mr. Safety was having a heart attack I know!

But it was beautiful  So many colors and lights.  It was hard to get a picture, but I tried.  It's a little blury, but I hope you can see some of the different lanterns here.  The variety was amazing.  I'm going to go get some as a remembrance!

Then it was fireworks time.  Now I have to admit, the ones we saw during the Moon Festival were not as good as I've seen elsewhere.  We used to have holiday fireworks behind our house at one of the hotels and those were awesome.  And remember when I told you we watched fireworks along the coast of China a few weeks ago?  Those were MEGA great.  So we were a little disappointed with what we saw.  But I enjoyed the responses from the other people.  There was a kid behind us that screamed in happiness whenever a particularly bright firework went off, and the couple sitting beside us grunted and groaned at all the sparklers.  (I even checked once to make sure they were actually "watching" the program.)  Here is a short video of the finale.

Then it was off to home where we celebrated the last part of the night with moon cakes and tea.  We never saw the moon because of all the clouds, but we did what was traditional and went out on the balcony and kissed under the "light" of the moon!

Festivals in other countries are always interesting and often surprising.  While there weren't a lot of activites, we had to remind ourselves there aren't a lot of things on Thanksgiving either.  Other than the Macy's day parade, that holiday is usually spent at home with family, eating and watching football.  So I guess our expectations were a little off.  But we had a blast anyway, because to us it's all about the adventure!

Hope you enjoyed this brief look at one of the most important festivals here in Asia.  I know I love sharing it all with you!  Please let me know what you think by sharing your comments below!

CJ England  

 Follow Your Dreams


Kelley Heckart said...

I like the meaning of the mid-Autumn festival and the Chinese legend about the moon goddess.

It must be really exciting to learn about other cultures.

CJ England said...

Thanks for commenting, CC. So many of the festivals here have unique and interesting beginnings. It's hard to keep up with them. LOL

But I can't wait to start writing about them all! This culture is VERY different from my own.

Anonymous said...

I remember reading up on Mid-Autumn festival last year as some of my online friends were celebrating it, but it had completely escaped my notice that it had come around again this year. Thanks for the photos!

CJ England said...

You're welcome. I love taking pics and then sharing them with you all.