Mooncake Festivals and Dice Games

Monday, September 12, 2011
NOT MY PHOTO
I was reminded by a Chinese friend that mooncake festival was coming up. This year, the Mooncake Festival will happen on the 12th of September.

For those who do not know, the Mooncake Festival is a harvest festival popularly celebrated by the Chinese, Korean and Vietnamese people. It is also often called the Mid-Autumn Festival, Moon Festival or Zhongqiu (as we normally call it in Philippines). Sometimes it is even referred to as the Lantern Festival. 

The Festival is held every 15th day of the eighth month in the Chinese calendar. It normally lands sometime between September and October.

When I was young, we used to celebrate the Mooncake Festival with a family celebration. Family members would gather at my uncle's house and we would play this dice game, consisting of six dice in a bowl. There would be prizes up for grabs. Each time you get a four or a one (both represented by red dots on a die), you would get something from the prizes. The more of the same numbers you have, say, getting five fours or five threes or six twos, the grander the prizes (usually the grand prize is something big and luxurious). The game could go on for hours until somebody throws the winning combination. I was usually happy if I get one or two fours as that would mean sweets and chocolates.

When I was in school as well, we would also celebrate the festival the same way. It was, of course, slightly different as you would need to chip in some monies for the prizes to be bought by the teacher. Each student would get a turn to throw the dice and win the prizes.

I think back on these childhood memories with such fondness.

Since coming to South Africa, I have not celebrated the festival in this way. The closest thing to a celebration was getting mooncakes on festival day. And then I would be reminded of all these wonderful memories of the dice game, the sweets, the chocolates, the prizes and the family. Sometimes I wish I could relive them and show my children some part of their Chinese culture.

Happy Mid-Autumn Festival to everyone! Zhongqiu Jie Kuai Le!

0 caring thoughts: