Monday, October 04, 2010

Mid-Autumn Festival: year five and counting

We have always loved the mid-Autumn festival here in Hong Kong. It is a lovely holiday, sometimes called the moon festival, which falls anywhere from middle to late September, depending on the moon’s cycle. Everyone goes down to the beach with lanterns, candles and day-glo sticks and looks up at the moon. People eat moon cakes, which are sort of like little fruit cakes with eggs on the inside. It is partially a harvest festival, though the warm temperatures in September do not much feel like autumn as many of us know it. People get the day off from work and kids get the day off from school. It is one of the bigger holidays here and we typically look forward to it.

This year the mid-Autumn Festival came during a week of typhoons. The weather was wet and rainy. Visibility was poor. It rained a bit on the evening that folks go down to the beach to admire the moon. Actually none of the bad weather mattered much to us. This year our only plan for the eve of the Autumn Festival was to get all the kids to swim practice. And that is just what we did. And more surprising, everyone was happy about it.

All three kids are now proud members of the Hong Kong Island Stingrays Swim Club, formerly known as Tori’s swim team. Adam and Royce tried out for the team in August. Both made it, though one quick thinking twin asked me what would happen if only one of them made the team? I worried about this scenario as well but it did not come to pass (at least not this year, not this sport). Now Adam and Royce swim on one squad and Tori swims on a different squad with more frequent and longer practices. It is a bit complicated. For example, the girls were recently selected to compete in a dual swim meet but Adam was not. He cheered the girls on and even convinced many parents on our team to yell for our girls. I thought he would be upset about not swimming. Actually, he was quite pleased to play basketball in the gym with big boys and not be in the pool swimming 50 meters of butterfly with his sisters.

The day after the Mid- Autumn evening is the public holiday. The weather was still a bit unstable in the morning and unfortunately the junk boat trip we had planned was postponed. Instead we did what we usually do; we hiked. We all hiked down into Big Wave Bay, a nice beach with little waves. Luckily for us, the little café on the beach recently reopened, so cold drinks and Western food were all possible. The kids got some beach on this holiday, just not the crowded night beach. We are still here, still enjoying it all but perhaps a little less awed. We love our paper lanterns and we love our swim practice too. And we still don’t like moon cakes.


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