Nobody has so far been able to explain to me how it was that the Mid-Autumn Festival turned into the national holiday for BBQing, after making a stop at Hotpoting, but there it is – Moon Festival in Taiwan, as well as in other East-Asian countries like China, Korea, Vietnam etc. is usually celebrated with the family and friends doing BBQ. Just like Israel in Independence Day, the whole city gets covered with smoke and exotic BBQ smells. People do BBQs just about everywhere – on the street, next to the 7-11s/McDonalds, in the middle of road interjections, roofs, balconies and by the smell of it in my corridor – also indoors.
The Mid-Autumn Festival (Simplified Chinese: 中秋节; Traditional Chinese: 中秋節; pinyin: zhōngqiūjié), also known as the Moon Festival, is a popular East Asian celebration of abundance and togetherness, dating back over 3,000 years to China’s Zhou Dynasty. […]
The traditional food of this festival is the mooncake, of which there are many different varieties. The Mid-Autumn Festival is one of the two most important holidays in the Chinese calendar (the other being the Chinese Lunar New Year), and is a legal holiday in several countries. Farmers celebrate the end of the summer harvesting season on this date. Traditionally, on this day, Chinese family members and friends will gather to admire the bright mid-autumn harvest moon, and eat moon cakes and pomeloes together. (Wikipedia)
Two days before the holiday I already started hearing the firecrackers and seeing fireworks everywhere, but on the actual holiday day things turned really nasty. Firecrackers were going outside in my housing complex 24 hours around the clock and if that wasn’t enough the temple just next to the complex was running some extremely loud Chinese Opera kind of thing in the middle of the night. Not being able to sleep I decided to go and have a look what this whole thing was about, and it turns out the actors were performing to an audience of 3 old half-sleeping ladies. Somebody tried explaining to me that this performance was meant for the Gods and has nothing to do with how big the audience is. Yep, another sleepless night wondering around the streets of Tainan and staring at undecipherable Taiwanese phenomenas.
The IMBA school organized a BBQ party for us in Chia-Yi (Jiayi) in our administrating manager’s countryside house. We split into teams of 8 and were given 1000NT$ to do our on KT-Mart shopping for the BBQ of our choice. I was teamed up with 6 Cambodians that weren’t keen on English but was made to feel much better once another Vietnamese joined us. It might not come as a big surprise that the folks I feel most comfortable with in my school are the Taiwanese and Vietnamese, having spent a few months living in both countries and feeling that there’s something really special and somewhat, eh, ‘pure’ about them. There was the obvious KTVing, some international South-America oriented dancing, some alcohol and a LOT of food.