Sunday, September 14, 2008

Mid-Autumn Festival

Today is the 15th day of the 8th lunar month of the Chinese calendar, which marks the celebration of the Mid-Autumn Festival, also known as the Mooncake Festival. The most common food that is related to this festival would be the mooncake, that come in many different varieties. Mooncake usually come in a thick filling, usually made from lotus seed paste is surrounded by a relatively thin crust and may contain yolks from salted duck eggs. However, there has been many new types of mooncakes in terms of flavour, shapes and style today. Twenty years ago, there was no such thing as a durian-flavoured mooncake, or a mooncake bearing a Hello Kitty head.
Some thought they are smarter, by coming out with mooncakes like these.
"You wanna have my ass?"
Although there has been so many choices of mooncakes nowadays, I still prefer the traditional ones.
Double yolk lotus seed.
I used to go to the Taiping Lake Gardens to play lanterns roughly about ten years ago, when I was still a little kid. We would take packets of candles, different types of lanterns and find a suitable spot for us there. One of the most famous spot to play lantern there would be the skating ring, situated along Jalan Kedamaian (Jalan Air Terjun), and it still remain as the main spot for kids these days to play their lantern.
People would usually hang the lanterns they have lit on the trees and it makes the place looks serenely beautiful with colourful lanterns hanging down from the trees. Not only they hang their lanterns from the tress, they also will light then candles in rows, or sometimes arrange them to form some patterns or words. It just made the place looked beautifully illuminated by the rows of candles.
Colourful lanterns hanging from the trees.
Not a bad place for couples, really.
Rows of candles.
Some kids put folded paper around the candles to make it looked like a lamp.

It has been a few years since I last went to the Lake Gardens to join the rest during the lantern festival and it certainly reminded me of the happy times I used to have years ago. When I was there last night, the crowd was quite huge and despite the slight drizzle at one point, the people just continued having fun there. Unlike in the past, there were more youngsters than families coming with their kids these days. There were even stalls set up, selling food and drinks, glow-in-the-dark rings and decorative items, and even firecrackers, which is something uncommon in the past.
Firecrackers made its presence felt.
My first ever lantern was a squirrel lantern; that was bought when I was about five-years-old. Almost every year, I would ask my parents to buy a new one for me and every time, I would get a new animal. That is why besides just squirrel, I have had lanterns which have shapes of fish and dragons. I don't know why, but I just do not fancy lanterns which has designs like Ultraman, Pokemon or Power Rangers. Usually, they are not hand-drawn, but just have the designs printed on papers and then pasted on the lanterns. Another type which is not my liking would be the battery-operated electronic lanterns, mostly coming with music. Some of the music can be really noisy, annoying and super irritating.
Of so many lanterns I saw last night, I noticed that there is one type of lanterns which still remain popular among everyone - paper lanterns.
Thou shalt not fade.
It was a last minute plan for me to go there last night, and I went there without bringing along any lanterns or candles. I was merely enjoying the atmosphere there, but I still want to hold a lantern and walk around the area. I went to look for a lantern and managed to find one - an orange paper lantern, which looked still in a good condition. After two unsuccessful attempt to light the lantern, in which I made it having two burnt holes along the way, I successfully lit my lantern.
I call it the cempedak lantern.
With my mum.
And my two sisters.
Looking at its condition, it really looked like a cempedak, just fell from its tree. Don't you think so?


Anonymous said...

hi there, i 'accidentally' bumped into your blog while i was browsing crapped's and stevelee's blog.. you've quite an interesting blog~ enjoyed reading it..especially those on Japan..looking forward for your other posts ^^

Tau Sar Phneah said... impressed with the atmosphere...lanterns hanging from the trees, candles lit up to form rows of words or pattern...never seen that even in's good for family reunion and foster the ties among the members of the family..oh yea, your lantern real looks like

happy mid-autumn festival to you too!!! i missssed it again this year.. :(

TZ said...

Dude, your "cempedak" lantern... where you get this lantern from??? ... what a creative shape... i like it :-)

btw, can u take another picture the day after ... just wondered will there be lots of rubbish @ the park... Sad Sad :-(

Endoru said...

Ah, how I miss all these tradition. Sweet old memories just pops up in my mind while gazing through your pics, Gavin. Yes, I prefer the traditional mooncakes rather than those "asses". *hehe* Nice 'cempedak' as well.

Anonymous said...

haih.. how i miss those moments i had when i was a little short kid (although still quite short today =_=)

luckily i still got to eat mooncakes sent by mr james's mum yesterday.. wasn't a totally uncelebrated lonely mid-autumn festival atleast :-)

calvin said...

@ sakura:
first of all, thank you for dropping by and i would appreciate it very much if you put your name here :)

thanks for your compliments and i am glad that you enjoyed reading my blog =D

calvin said...

@ tau sar phneah:
i thought the atmosphere in penang would be much more lively. nevertheless, it is indeed a great time for a family gathering, besides the chinese new year.

when i was figuring out a fruit that resembles my lantern, the first fruit that came into my mind was cempedak.

i missed it last year, but i am glad i get to celebrate it this year :)

calvin said...

@ tz:
i am not supposed to say it here, but i picked it up from somewhere on the ground. are you sure the shape is creative? lol xD

i was already thinking about writing on that matter. please have a look at the entry after this one ;)

and yes, it is a sad thing =\

calvin said...

@ endoru:
yes, me too. i used to cry out whenever my burn my lantern, because i just loved it so much. reminiscing about those times is indeed a sweet thing :)

since it was not mine, i left the cempedak somewhere there before i left that night :)

calvin said...

@ bao cong:
don't worry. you are not that short, just slightly below the average height of asian people.

that was great. i would never want to recall how it was for me exactly one year ago. not even a single bite of mooncake for me back then =(

K3ViN said...

i also kinda miss the atmosphere there but no tat grand lor.... Haha ur tanglung look very cute

calvin said...

@ k3vin:
yes, it was really grand this year, compared to last time when i was still a small kid. i suppose my lantern looked more pitiful than cute xD