There was a full moon last night. I remember seeing a half-moon in the sky several nights ago. It looked a little odd, something that I had never seen before. I remember crescent-shaped moons, yes, but not a half moon, exactly half of a circle. It looked like something out of a math book or a protractor in a geometry set. If I had seen it before, I most surely had forgotten all about it.
It was different last night. I could even see it from the doorway that led out to the backyard. I could almost feel it beckoning to me, to walk out there and look at it and appreciate it out in the open. If it were any other night, I would have. But there were some nights when my overactive imagination could imagine all sorts of things in the dark and that night was one of them.
And then I remembered that it was the mid-autumn festival, otherwise known as the mooncake festival. It was one of the traditions that my family observed, having been raised with a Chinese grandmother. Or maybe my mother took it upon herself to keep those traditions alive, whether her mother was living with us or not. Once I was an adult, I'd always assumed that our family had always observed the Chinese customs, even the reunion dinner (which was always a very casual affair) during the Chinese New Year. But my younger brother reminded me that our mother really only started those traditions after our father had passed away. Even when he was alive, we did have the cakes and goodies associated with the Chinese New Year. But I suppose my brother was right, that we only had the reunion dinners after our dad's passing. And I wonder why. It is sometimes odd how we remember - or choose to remember - bit and pieces of our upbringing. So I suppose it's good that there are others or, at least, one other person - who was part of that journey and hopefully, a reliable source - to help remind us of what was or wasn't.
We enjoyed those traditions or I know that I did. And I sometimes think that being the two youngest, my younger brother and I were the ones that especially enjoyed those traditions with the family. And I looked forward to the mooncake festival as it meant eating mooncakes which were a pastry with a sweet lotus seed filling. I think my mother enjoyed it with an egg yolk in the center but I never could acquire a taste for it.
Sometimes I think it's most unfortunate that I won't be able to pass on those traditions to my children. It is a part of my culture, my upbringing, and something that I would have loved to share, right down to the occasional dialogue or phrases in Cantonese. I even remember accompanying my mother when she went to one of the stores in chinatown to buy the much-anticipated mooncake. It was delicious to eat, after all, and something that I looked forward to each year. How I took things for granted but of course one didn't realise it at the time. As a child, I lived for the moment.
I remembered the festival recently but I didn't look forward to it. It just was not the same anymore. And I think it's sad. It was the little things such as buying or eating mooncake that brought the family together or rather, it especially brought my mother and I together. The consumption of any kind of food, really, usually brings the family together, at least for a while. And I didn't want to lose that tradition because I didn't want to forget my mother's heritage. I didn't want to forget my heritage.
The full moon called out to me last night. At least to come out a while and say hello and remember family and mooncakes and playing with the Chinese paper lanterns. All I could do was look at it from the doorway. And it was full indeed with wisps of cloud for company which made it seem almost mystical. Full and brilliant and full of memories.
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