“Tomorrow is Mid-Autumn Festival (Zhongqiu Jie),” my husband announced. “OK,” I thought, and then quickly forgot.
He brought home moon cakes from the Chinese store, and they set on the kitchen counter until five minutes before the kids’ bedtime when he suddenly remembered the lotus-bean treats.
What followed next was a failed attempt to explain the holiday to our two kids through a badly translated and gory (no time for parental preview) Youtube video, and a brief moon cake taste-test (i.e. “You WILL try a bite of this!).
“Surely there is a more enjoyable and educational way to celebrate this holiday,” my husband and I wondered as we sat on the couch after the kids had gone to bed.
What could we have done differently to teach them about the story of Houyi and the moon goddess Chang'e? What could we have given them as a treat to celebrate and enjoy this holiday instead of the traditional lotus bean dessert, which their young palates have never really adjusted to?
After searching the web for fun and creative ways to celebrate with kids, I stumbled across Grace Lin’s beautiful book, Thanking the Moon, in which a Chinese American family heads out for a moonlight picnic, shares a mooncake and hot tea snack, and sends secret wishes up to the moon.
I’m not sure what our family life will look like one year from now, but I hope that when Mid-Autumn Festival rolls around (September 30, 2012!) we will be preparing for our own midnight picnic under the light of the moon.
History and traditions of the Mid-Autumn Festival: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mid-Autumn_Festival
All about the mooncake: http://www.familyculture.com/holidays/mooncake.htm
A traditional mooncake recipe for the adventurous baker: http://happyhomebaking.blogspot.com/2011/09/mid-autumn-fest.html
Grace Lin's book on the Mid-Autumn Festival: http://www.gracelin.com/content.php?page=thanking_moon