Quōmodo Honcongēnsēs Festum Mediī Autumnī celebrant ?
Multī sunt qui mōrēs veterēs adhūc sequantur.
Tōta familia solet diē ipsō domī ūna cēnāre deinde, sī caelum serēnum est, hortum pūblicum adeunt aut collem proximum ascendunt ut omnēs lūnam plēnam spectantēs placentās lūnārēs edant et līberī lanternīs lūdant.
Tū ipse Honcongō trigintā annōs habitās. Recordārisne prīmum festum Mediī Autumnī quod hīc dēgistī ?
Ita vērō. Magister eram in schola secundāria et occupātissimus. Cum sōlus illō tempore habitārem, cōnstituī ad summum Montem Victōriānum
pedibus ascendere ut celebrātiōnēs vidērem. Illōmodō nunquam anteā īveram, nam tantum nam tantum trāmine fūniculārī vectus
ascenderam, sed semper sursum progressus ad summum montem sine difficultāte pervēnī. Clāriter recordor mē statim institōri cuidam incurrisse, quī, simulatque faciem umbrivirī cōnspexit, vās metallicum cervisiae ē cistā extractum mihi obtulit. Neque tamen accēpi nam valdē sitiēbam et primum necesse erat mihi potiōnem sine alcoholī bibere. Deinde familiās lanternāsque aliquamdiū spectāvī et domum sērius revertī. Difficultās nōn erat, nam quotannīs nocte Mediī Autumnī trāmina subterrānea per tōtam noctem hominēs vehunt et postrīdiē est fēria pūblica.
Quid dē orīgine festī illīus scīmus ?
Temporibus antiquissimīs Sīnēnsēs lūnam deam coluisse videntur, sub dynastiā Tangia prīmumnōbilēs deinde plebs coēpērunt sub dīvō sedentēs dum lūnam admīrantur convīvium participāre. Aevō Sungiō diēs decima quīnta mēnsis octāvī cōnstitūta est ad hanc cēlebrātiōnem quotannīs habendam. Dē hīs rēbus in hāc pāginā legere poteris :
Et quid dē placentīs lūnāribus ?
Trādunt cum Sīnēnsēs contrā dynastiam Mongoliānam rebelliōnem facere cōnstituissent ducēs mandāta in tālibus placentīs cēlāta ad populum mīsisse.
Suntne aliae fābulae ad hoc festum pertinentēs ?
Ita vērō. Dīcunt fēminam quandam, nōmine Seung Ngor (嫦娥, Chang E), potiōnem immortālitātis, ā Rēgīnā Caelī ipsā marītō eius datam, cōnsumpsisse et statim ad lūnam volāvisse. Seung Ngo ibi cum cuniculō ingentī et furciferō quōdam, quī arborem caedere semper frūstrā cōnātur, aeternō vīvit. Alii affirmant fēminam potiōnem ā marītō dolōsē abstulisse, aliī crēdunt illam bibisse nē medicīna ā discipulō marītī abriperētur. Videnda sunt hae pāginae :
Et quid tū ipse hōc annō faciēs ?
Vesperī festī discipulōs docēre dēbēbō sed postrīdiē barbacoae tuae intererō neque, ut abhinc trigintā annōs, cervisiam recūsābō.
How do Hong Kong people celebrate the Mid-Autumn festival?
There are many who still follow the old customs. On the day itself the whole family normally has dinner at home together, then, if the weather is goof, they go to a park or climb a nearby hill so that they can all eat moon cakes whilst looking at the full moon and the children can play with lanterns,
You have been living in Hong Kong yourself for thirty years. Do you remember the first Mid-Autumn festival you spent here?
Yes, indeed. I was a secondary school teacher and very busy. As at that time I was living on my own, I decided to go up to the top of Victoria Peak on foot so I could look at the celebrations. I had never before done it like that, as previously I had only gone up on the Peak Tram, but I just kept on going up-hill and I reached the top without any problem. I remember very clearly that I immediately came across a hawker, who, as soon as he saw a gweilo face, pulled out a can of beer from his box and offered it to me. However, I didn't take it because I was extremely thirsty and needed a non-alcoholic drink first. Then i spent some time looking at the families and the lanterns and returned home rather late. There was no problem with this because every year on the night of the Mid-Autumn Festival the MTR trains keep carrying passengers right through the night and the next day is a public holiday.
What do we know about the origin of the festival?
In very ancient times the Chinese seem to have worshipped the moon as a goddess and under the Tang dynasty (618-907) first the nobles and then the common people started to sit outside and join in a party whilst they admired the full moon. In the Sung period (960-1279) the 15th day of the 8th month was fixed as the day for holding an annual celebration. You can read about this in the following page:https://www.chinahighlights.com/festivals/mid-autumn-festival-history-origin.htm
And what about moon cakes?
The traditional story is that when the Chinese had decided to rebel against the Mongol (Yuen)
dynasty their leaders sent instructions to the people hidden in cakes of that kind.
Are there other stories connected with this festival?
Yes indeed. People say that a woman named Seung Ngor consumed the elixir of immortality given to her husband by the Queen of Heaven herself and then immediately flew to the moon. Seung Ngor lives there for ever in the company of a giant rabbit and of a criminal who is always trying in vain to cut down a tree.. Some state that the woman stole the elixir from her husband by a trick, others believe that she drank it to stop a student of her husband from stealing it. See the following pages:
And what will you yourself do this year?
I will have to teach students on the evening of the festival but the following day I'll be at your barbecue, and, unlike thirty years ago, I won't refuse a beer!
Vertitur intereā caelum et ruit Ōceanō nox 250
involvēns umbrā magnā terramque polumque
Myrmidonumque dolōs; fūsī per moenia Teucrī
conticuēre; sopor fessōs complectitur artūs.
et iam Argīva phalānx instructīs nāvibus ībat
ā Tenedō tacitae per amīca silentia lūnae 255
lītora nōta petēns, flammās cum rēgia puppis
extulerat, fātīsque deum dēfēnsus inīquīs
inclūsōs uterō Danaōs et pīnea furtim
laxat claustra Sinōn. illōs patefactus ad aurās
reddit equus laetīque cavō sē rōbore prōmunt 260
Thessandrus Sthenelusque ducēs et dīrus Ulixēs,
dēmissum lāpsī per fūnem, Acamasque Thoasque
Pēlīdēsque Neoptolemus prīmusque Machāōn
et Menelāus et ipse dolī fabricātor Epēos.
invādunt urbem somnō vīnōque sepultam; 265
caeduntur vigilēs, portīsque patentibus omnīs
accipiunt sociōs atque agmina cōnscia iungunt
Tempus erat quō prīma quiēs mortālibus aegrīs
incipit et dōnō dīvum grātissima serpit.
in somnīs, ecce, ante oculōs maestissimus Hector
vīsus adesse mihī largōsque effundere flētūs, 271
raptātus bīgīs ut quondam, āterque cruentō
pulvere perque pedēs traiectus lōra tumentīs.