Saturday, 18 February 2012

Hong Kong

A few posts back I wrote about how my friend Miranda went for holiday in Hong Kong and Taiwan for around New Year's. This is one of the postcards she brought me from Hong Kong, showing the celebrations of different festivals and other special occasions in Hong Kong.

In case you can't read the descriptions on the scan, the one on top left is for Chinese New Year, the one next to it Tin Hau's Birthday, the one under that Dragon Boat Festival, and the picture on bottom left is from Mid-Autumn Festival.

Aside from Chinese New Year, Mid-Autumn Festival is one that really fascinates me. It is also known as the Moon Festival or Mooncake Festival and is a popular lunar harvest festival celebrated by Chinese and Vietnamese people. A description of the festival first appeared in Rites of Zhou, a written collection of rituals of the Western Zhou Dynasty from 3,000 years ago. The celebration became popular during the early Tang Dynasty. The festival is held on the 15th day of the eighth month in the Chinese calendar, which is in September or early October in the Gregorian calendar, close to the autumnal equinox. The Government of the People's Republic of China listed the festival as an "intangible cultural heritage" in 2006, and it was made a Chinese public holiday in 2008. It is also a Taiwanese public holiday.

Accompanying the celebration, there are additional cultural or regional customs, such as eating mooncakes (round or rectangular pastries, measuring about 10 cm in diameter and 4–5 cm thick. A rich thick filling usually made from red bean or lotus seed paste is surrounded by a relatively thin (2–3 mm) crust and may contain yolks from salted duck eggs), matchmaking, carrying brightly lit lanterns, lighting lanterns on towers, floating sky lanterns...

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