The Mid-Autumn Festival is a time of family gathering. I first understood this when I was young and my mom was away on a business trip during that year’s festival. We still cut our mooncakes with a portion for her set aside and my dad reminded us that the beautiful full moon we were admiring was the very same one that beamed down on her, so we were connected by the moon. In fact, as someone who grew up celebrating all major holidays with my family (new year’s parties with friends still feel foreign to me), 中秋节 (zhōngqiūjié) was the first family holiday I spent away from my home and my family in college. I distinctly remember crying over the mooncakes my parents had lovingly purchased for me to bring back to campus when I visited them, because I had never eaten mooncakes alone before.
Even without a global pandemic still happening, my family has been split across many cities for a few years now, but I still acutely feel the effects of the pandemic on the festive season. I used to think my festive season ran from October (Halloween) through to the beginning of January (New Year’s ending the Christmas season), but upon reflection this year, I’m finding that my personal festive season starts in earnest with the Mid-Autumn Festival and ends with the end of Lunar New Year celebrations. (That’s when we would take down our tree, after all.) So starting the festive season without having seen any of my family (besides my husband) since February? January? When I consider the many people who aren’t even able to get mooncakes to eat alone (and am grateful for efforts to remedy that this year), I am worried about the lows we may reach during the festive season.
BUT. This post is not about being sad during the holidays. 😅 This post is actually an informational one about the Mid-Autumn Festival, mooncakes, and the mythology surrounding this super important Asian holiday, where I’ll be focusing on Chinese traditions and folklore since I’m of Chinese descent. I decided to put a little informational up here because I got really into my Instagram stories writing about 七夕, aka “Chinese Valentine’s Day”, so I thought I’d spare my Instagram followers and torment my scarce blog readers instead. I’ll also share some new ways I’m celebrating this year in lieu of different circumstances and a highly-challenged comfort zone.
When the first chill of the year hits the air, the daylight hours get shorter, and for sure when October 1st hits, we officially enter the spooky season with a gusto. Halloween has gotten huge on social media as creatives post amazing costumes, baked treats, and home decor around the theme of black and orange and a little scary.
I’ve never been big on the “a little scary” part. (I also kind of hate orange on myself, but that’s neither here nor there.) When I was little, I accidentally watched slasher film classic Scream because someone had put the wrong tape in the box for Men in Black. (I was really suspicious when we hadn’t seen a single alien… or Will Smith…) I haven’t really come around to horror or gore since.
BUT I still love the festive feeling around Halloween. I have a long history of loving to dress up but then forgetting that many people go scary in lieu of sexy. (Once, I attended a Halloween event at the National Zoo and had the absolute bejeebus scared out of me by an admittedly impressive duo costume where one man was a menacing puppetmaster and the other was a terrifying zombie puppet attached to him by long rods. I screamed but the craftmanship was 👌)
So here is an updated list of some of my favorite movies to watch to get into the spoopy season, and where it’s available to stream if you are interested in that. (If anyone wants to do a watch party, please let me know!) Since I have such a low tolerance for being scared, this list is a lot of children’s movies, since most children have a higher tolerance for being scared than I do… (Hence why I started my old list 6 years ago with several vintage Disney shorts.)
Note: If you would like to stream these, you can check Justwatch.com to see what platforms have it available. Not an ad, just a handy site I check when I get the hankering to watch something!
No real post today because I have been reeling since the Breonna Taylor grand jury verdict was released.
Even though I started making a really concerted effort this week to schedule time to socialize with people and call them and chat, I have cancelled (/postponed) everything to mostly spend my evenings crying on the floor.
It feels hopeless but we can’t believe it is. We knew the system would let us down but we must believe in a way to move forward, a better way.
Justice for Breonna Taylor. Black lives matter.
Go easy on your friends and coworkers and family. The news cycle has been so much, and barely anyone has escaped untouched. Go easy on yourself, too. Show yourself some compassion, it’ll serve you better in the long run.
If you need something pure and wholesome to put a small smile on your face through all this, please enjoy this compilation of ducklings wearing flowers as hats.
Today marks the first day of (astronomical) fall for the northern hemisphere and we are feeling it in the northeast US. Now that the smoke from the west coast wildfires has mostly cleared, the air is cooler, crisper. We are able to start keeping our windows open during the workday, like we did at the beginning of quarantine.
But it also means that our daylight hours are getting shorter, which we have not really had to experience since before quarantine. We have been taking stock of where New York City stands with coronavirus and trying to determine what level of comfort we have with things like seeing friends, going to reopened gyms, and more.
Schools are set to reopen and indoor dining is set to resume next week in New York. If the city isn’t bracing for another wave of cases, we certainly are here in my household. In fact, we are trying to prepare by making sure we have supplies that we may need, since we were only just able to get through the first wave.
Here’s where we stand right now and what we’re thinking about as the cold months set in:
L’shana tovah! Today is Rosh Hashanah, the celebration of the Jewish new year.
My Jewish friends often get a kick out of me — a Chinese-American, and more key here, non-Jewish person — keeping up with major Jewish holidays. But I grew up in a school district where Jewish holidays were school holidays, due to what I’m assuming was a large Jewish population in my town. I still remember moving to a different school district and expressing surprise at having school on Yom Kippur, a high holiday!