This week is Mid-Autumn Festival and we don't have class on Thursday and Friday. Mid-Autumn Festival or sometimes referred to the moon cake festival is a big holiday here. In ancient times family members would go work in the cities or far away from their families to earn more money. Around this time many of them would get homesick but since they lived so far away and transportation was almost non existent they couldn't go home. It is said they wrote letters, songs, and poems to express their sorrows and at night they went outside and watched the moon. Since the moon was at its brightest it gave them hope in believing that their family members where outside as well watching the moon. This brought them more together and made them feel less alone. Families and stores would make moon cakes which they would give to these lonely family members. Over time millions of different flavors of these moon cakes evolved.
I have also heard that the Mid-Autumn festival also celebrates a good harvest. Right before the farmers had to harvest, the moon would be at its biggest and brightest and this festival was in it's honor to ensure a good harvest.
My roommate invited me to her house tonight for the festival. She lives in Shanghai, in another district about half an hour from our university. Every family prepares a huge meal and after moon cakes are shared. They had made crabs, which I bit open and sucked the meat out, something I have never done. Their food assortments included squid and octopus, yellow tail fish, beef, pork, duck, potato root, broccoli, different roots, celery and shrimp and so much more.
It was all so delicious, but I had to refrain from eating squid, octopus, and duck. It was very interesting and fun. Manners are very different here than at home. People slurp all the time but that is normal here. Most meats and foods have bones and scales and those are just spit on the tables in front of you. At first that was always very uncomfortable for me because it's somethig that is rude and bad mannered at home. It's still very weird for me.
I had a great time though, they were very welcoming and even though the mom and grandpa didnt speak English we had a great time.