So in Taiwan, Mid-autumn Festival is an important affair where family members scattered across the country come together in a reunion. For this, Taiwan declares the day to be a public holiday.
There are unique quirks about Mid-Autumn Festival in Taiwan, and they are: No one actually carries a lantern around, not even children; they do have moon cakes, but the moon cakes taste more like biscuits; and they barbecue meat. As we spend time with a few Taiwanese who did a surprise house visit, we found out that they only carry lanterns on 元宵节, the fifteenth day of the first month in the lunar calendar. The moon cakes which taste like biscuits are of the Suzhou-style mooncakes, which consists of flaky crusts and fillings. Barbecuing meat was the most unique of them all, and it’s origin has varying accounts. Some say it was a meticulous design by companies commercialising the festival (like Black Friday for Thanksgiving). Others say it was a clever replacement for the hotpot during the hot weather of the ending summer while still serving the purpose of dining together as a family.
Nonetheless, I was treated to a some barbecue with the locals.
Instead of heading out like most students and exchange students who took full advantage of the long weekend, our group in NCTU decided to stay in town to enjoy the view of the full moon upon the many lakes in the campus.
As we head back to hostel for the night, two locals surprised us by doing a house visit, with a box mooncakes and dessert. A small gesture for those who came from faraway, and could not be home, they said.
We may have seen the fullest moon that night, but our hearts were overflowing with warmth and kindness from the Taiwanese people.