Today is one of my favorite holidays–the Mid-Autumn Festival or Moon Festival. Yesterday I took my kids to Chinatown in Chicago so we could buy mooncakes, the traditional pastry enjoyed on this holiday across the Chinese diaspora.
But my favorite thing about this holiday isn’t the mooncakes. It’s the lanterns. Here I’m holding one in Hong Kong 21 years ago.
In fact, when I first landed in Hong Kong, it was a couple weeks before the Mid-Autumn Festival. When I started exploring the markets, I was greeted with colorful lanterns, like the one I’m carrying above. I’ll always associate my arrival in Hong Kong with these lanterns.
My kids love lanterns, too. For number one son’s bar mitzvah, check out the decorations I used:
And here’s my daughter, engrossed in a pink accordion lantern that shortly became fodder for the recycling bin. Paper doesn’t last forever, especially around young hands.
As we searched Chinatown yesterday, we couldn’t find any Mid-Autumn Festival lanterns. Not a one. I wonder if people in Hong Kong are the only ones who light lanterns for the Mid-Autumn Festival. When I spent a Mid-Autumn Festival in Hubei province back in 1995, I couldn’t find any lanterns there either. And the mooncakes tasted like plaster.
For now, I guess I’ll have to do with Chinese lantern flowers.
Or one of my favorite films, Raise the Red Lantern.
Happy Mid-Autumn Festival!