Writing quote

Sure, it's simple writing for kids...Just as simple as raising them.
— Ursula K. LeGuin

Friday, September 6, 2013


   One of my favorite Chinese festivals—the Mid-Autumn Festival (or Autumn Moon Festival) is coming up on Sept. 19. In the Chinese calendar, it occurs on the 15th day of the 8th month. This is the day when the moon is supposedly at its brightest and fullest. As a child, I loved this festival because we got to eat moon cakes (round pastries shaped like the moon and filled with lotus seed paste and the yolk of a salted duck's egg), and we went lantern shopping for the Chinese lanterns that we would carry on our evening walks around the neighborhood. In those days, you could still find lanterns made in the shapes of animals—dragons, rabbits, cats, fish—and choosing your animal lantern was a big deal. I still remember orbs of light bobbing up and down as children spilled into the streets with the animals they've chosen to celebrate this day!
   Today, the lanterns you find are plainer—no animal shapes, and in my small-town American neighborhood, my kids are the only ones carrying lanterns around. When they were younger, I'd get lantern painting kits and we'd decorate our own lanterns. My oldest (who's 13) has now outgrown even that tradition. We've made our own mooncakes a few times, but unlike my turnip cakes, they're not as good as the store-bought ones and quite labor-intensive. In spite of this, the tradition lives on and we'll make some moon cakes, enjoy some store-bought ones, and take our evening walk with lanterns in hand.
   This Sunday, Sept. 8, I will be in San Mateo at the San Mateo Autumn Moon Festival, signing Cixi, The Dragon Empress at the Asian American Curriculum Project booth. It promises to be a fun event with Chinese dancing, acrobats, lion dancing, arts and crafts and lots of vendor booths. If you're in the area, visit this fun family event, stop by the AACP booth and say "hello." Would love to see you there!

1 comment:

  1. I was curious, so I searched Google images for some of those animal-shaped lanterns. How gorgeous! What a beautiful festival celebration.