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How Mid-Autumn Festival celebrated in and outside Taiwan? 2017-10-05
Traditionally marking the end of the autumn harvest and expressing gratitude to mother earth, the Mid-Autumn Festival has been celebrated in Taiwan and other Asian countries on the 15th day of the eighth month on the lunar calendar, including Japan, Korea, Thailand, Malaysia, Singapore and Vietnam. This year the day falls on October 4.

In Taiwan, family and friends gather together at a table to appreciate the full moon and nibble mooncakes, with some throwing backyard barbecue parties under the bright moon. Let¡¦s see how people living in other countries observe the festival:

Japan

It is said that the moon viewing custom was first introduced to Japan from China, during the Heian period. The day is better known as ¡§Tsukimi¡¨ in Japan. On this day, family and friends gather to have a dinner together under the moon, in a rather quiet and solemn manner compared to other countries that observe the festival. Instead of eating golden-brown mooncakes filled with sweet red bean paste, Japanese people nibble white rice dumplings known as Tsukimi dango.

Korea

On this day, better known as ¡§Chuseok¡¨ in Korea with the day before and after as part of the holiday, family members come together to give thanks to their ancestors, and some spend their holidays with friends. On the morning of the day of Chuseok, family would hold memorial services called ¡§charye¡¨ in honor of their ancestors, with offerings like rice cakes and alcohol made and brewed from freshly harvested rice. The rice cakes are called ¡§Songpyeon,¡¨ which are prepared with rice powder that is kneaded into a size smaller than a golf ball with fillings such as sesame seeds, red beans and chestnuts.

Malaysia

Mid-Autumn Festival is also known as ¡§The Lantern Festival¡¨ in Malaysia, which is celebrated widely by the Chinese expat community in Penang, according to the Tourism Malaysia official site. On this day, family and friends gather together to appreciate the full moon while nibbling mooncakes and sipping tea. There are parades with people carrying colorful lanterns and groups playing dragon and lion dances. Many Malays and Indians also join the parade to have fun.

Singapore

On this day, family and friends sit in gardens or balconies lit by paper lanterns, sip tea and nibble mooncakes, according to Singapore Tourism Board. Children love this festival as they can carry lanterns in various colors and in the shape of animals or popular cartoon figures. Large beautiful lanterns will be on display. You can check out nightly performances and join lantern-painting competitions.

Thailand

Same as Singapore, sparkling lanterns in different shapes and vibrant colors are on display in Chinese expat community or Bangkok Chinatown. Children love to walk around with their lanterns. On the evening of this day, families set up a table with offerings including mooncakes and steamed buns in peach shape with red bean filling that stand for longevity. Pomelo is a must-eat fruit on this day as it symbolizes reunion.

Vietnam

In Vietnam, the Mid-Autumn Festival, known as Tết Trung Thu in Vietnamese, is the second biggest holiday in the country, after the Vietnamese New Year. On this day, families and friends sit in gardens or balconies to appreciate the moon and nibble mooncakes. Like other southeast Asian counties, people would go for a walk with colorful lanterns under the moon. Children would parade through the streets with lanterns and some groups play the vibrant lion dances in celebration. In central coast cities like Hội An and Hue, people would release lanterns into the water in the evening and the floating water lanterns dazzle the dark sky.

By Sophia Yang,Taiwan News, Staff Writer
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