Celebrating Under the Chinese Moon
Lit by the bright moon, I watched with my friends as red sky lanterns floated up one by one, disappearing slowly into the night until all we could see was a little bright dot and then nothing.
It was the night of the Mid-Autumn Festival, and I, like many other Peking University students, was out by Beijing’s Weiming Lake, reveling in the cool air and admiring the almost flawless reflection of the moon and pagoda on the water. Lovers lit lanterns in little boats, pushing them out onto the lake. A group of girls linked arms and began to sing softly. A family pulled out moon cakes to share, telling the story of Chang’e the Moon goddess and Houyi the Archer to wide-eyed children. All around me, people talked and laughed under the huge, round harvest moon.
I wish I had a proper picture of the lake that night, but unfortunately my camera was not cooperating. All I have is this picture during the day by the lake a few days before, but can you imagine? It was quite possibly one the most beautiful nights I have experienced; the peace, the sights and sounds, and to me, most importantly, the sense of belonging were all irreplaceable.
The experience has reinforced my belief in doing as the locals do, wherever in the world you may be. Eat with them, be merry with them, celebrate life with them, and you’ll find that you belong among them, regardless of the place you call home.