暑假到雪梨、墨爾本一遊，認識了不少澳洲的新朋友。在 Facebook 上閒聊時，偶然談到中秋節，便換來一震驚奇：「Hang on.....you guys get a festival just to look at the moon? I'm totally jealous.」於是花了點時間解釋中秋節的歷史背景。這些回應，被我整理潤飾後，貼在任任的藍色虛空國際版了。轉錄如下，各位可以花點時間看看。
Weaving the Fallnight
Moon festival, or lunar festival, is a tradition in Chinese culture. Its distinctive point from other holidays, or a little disappointment to the government, is that the accurate date is calculated from moon phase. In the other words, cannot be fixed to a specific Gregorian date. We're unable to arrange it to Monday or Friday this year, which would make a continuous vacation.
So what IS the lunar festival? Actually, there are three lunar festivals throughout the Chinese history. The first one falls on lunar January 15th, which represents the end of Chinese New Year. On that day, people solves lantern riddles, cook sweet dumplings (with read bean soup usually), and prepare for another hard-working year. The Chinese name of sweet dumpling, "Yuanshiao", is an alternative name to this festival.
The second one falls on lunar July 15th, which temples prepare foods for spirits and the dead. Activities for ghosts who still aren't reincarnated are held, and the lunar July is usually called "Ghost Month" since most good ceremonies (e.g. wedding, moving, etc.) have restrictions in this month.
And the last one is the so-called "Mid-autumn" lunar festival. Families usually get together in this day, having some tea snacks and enjoying the silver full moon. Since the round shape of moon symbolizes "reunion" and "perfection", those who work out of the town often come back to country or wherever their family is. Moon cakes and boxes of sweets are given between friends and customers.
These festivals are established in Tang dynasty, and their real name literally is "[Upper] Yuan Festival", where the upper, middle, lower parts of a year represents the sacrifice ceremony of sky emperor, earth emperor, and water emperor. They are intended to bring people good luck, and hope the gods, the dead, and the nature live in a balance. So regardless where you're living in, just prepare some tea and enjoy yourself with moon-gazing! :)
RenRen @ Blue Nowhere @ Taipei, with gorgeous shining moonlight.