Worshiping the moon in Mid-Autumn on September 21st

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The Silk Road Journal by Mahika Ming

Chinese nationals scattered across the globe celebrated the Mid-Autumn festival on the 21st of September cherishing the memories of loved ones. The celebrating of the Mid-Autumn festival according to Chinese sources dates back about 3000 years to ancient moon worshiping traditions. This intangible cultural heritage was officially listed in the intangible heritage list in 2006 & is a government holiday in the Peoples Republic of China.

Traditional Chinese food specially prepared to celebrate this event includes; the iconic Moon cakes, Osmanthus cakes & wine, Pomegranates & Crabs which adds colour to the rich cultural heritage surrounding this festival. Still it is the moon cake that has largely attracted the international spot lights with their various fillings used across the globe. They include; pineapple, cream cheese, chocolate, yolk, green tea & even durian. Moon cake is thus named since they simply symbolize the moon. The unique aroma of the Osmanthus flowers which blooms around Mid-Autumn is also used by the Chinese for many dishes & other festival related decorations. They blend the Osmanthus flowers with rice wine & sugar to produce the much loved Osmanthus wine after seasoning the mixture for about two months. Another age old tradition during the Mid-Autumn festival is crab eating & sharing. Chinese people also make sure that they send crabs to friends & relations during this festival which according to tradition is basically to pay gratitude to family & friends.

Other than above traditional dishes & spirits, Chinese all over the world have developed different colorful ways to celebrate this festival. Australia is one country which is under the spotlight due to its latest defense agreements with UK & USA. The background of this story is widely believed to be the rise of China through the Belt & Road Initiative. Australia which opposed France testing nuclear power in the south pacific few years ago has now teamed up with USA & UK to develop nuclear powered submarines after scrapping a 40 billion USD worth diesel submarine development agreement with France.

In Sydney, Australia, Chinese Australians held cocktail parties with the Mid-Autumn theme to celebrate the event. According to sources the white Australians have enjoyed the celebrations along with Chinese & others sharing Moon cakes, Crab & Pomegranates etc. According to the Chinese, the tradition of offering the Pomegranates harvested during Mid-Autumn to the moon praying for reunions dates back to the Han Dynasty (202BC -220 AD). As per the old Chinese saying “Autumn wind, crab feet itch, Chrysanthemums bloom & then delicious crabs arrive” signifies the celebration of Mid-Autumn Festival. It is indeed a pleasure to see average Australians celebrating this festival while the Australian authorities are cracking their brains to mend differences with France.

The writer is an analyst with interests in the financial and sustainable development sectors with postgraduate exposure in the Far East (mahika.ming@gmail.com).

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