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Expats Celebrate Mid-Autumn Festival In Unique (and Disgusting) Ways

Posted: 09/11/2014 7:30 am

moon cake expats foreigners chinese customs

While China is somewhat accepting of foreign cultural influences, we know that Chinese culture will endure because of the series of customs that are repeated by each successive generation.

As a foreigner, you can get in on the fun as well! Earlier this week was Mid-Autumn Festival, and everyone should know the only proper answer to the question of how did you spend your holiday: reunited with loved ones, ate moon cake, and looked at the moon.

moon cake expats foreigners chinese customs

In what might be the strangest story regarding expats in China celebrating Mid-Autumn festival, three Russian models were photographed in Chongqing, dipping a moon cake into a hot pot:

moon cake expats foreigners chinese customs

They were reported to have eaten the hot-potted moon cake with “tears streaming down their faces” because it was so spicy. Oh my!

The models, and their unnamed male companions, were later seen dipping their sickeningly sweet and oily mooncakes in mayonnaise:

moon cake expats foreigners chinese customsmoon cake expats foreigners chinese customsmoon cake expats foreigners chinese customs

As fascinating as this story already was, it became even more interesting when Valeria, from St. Petersburg, told the Chongqing Evening Report that she celebrated Mid-Autumn festival as the locals did:

This is the first time we have heard of Mid-Autumn Festival. I have sent the pictures of us eating moon cakes to my father and mother so that we can be together on this Chinese reunion holiday.

moon cake expats foreigners chinese customsLess spectacular, but still deserving of important news coverage by iFeng, was how Georgian expats were photographed eating moon cakes at Shenzhen’s Windows of the World (above). Although nothing else was revealed about these people, including their names, we were told that they “love Chinese traditional culture”, something which their moon-caking ways surely demonstrate.

Hexun chose a more nuanced approach in showing how four expats in Ningbo celebrated Mid-Autumn Festival. The interview explored how they reunited with their family, ate moon cake and looked at the shiny moon. moon cake expats foreigners chinese customs

Malcolm Wilson (above), a 59 year-old English expat, hosted a party with his closest foreign friends in the absence of family. He has been eating moon cake since 2005.

Li Yuji, a Korean national, brings moon cake back to his family, who also celebrate Mid-Autumn Festival in South Korea, which suggests there may be a common origin for this festival.

Terri, a teacher originally from England, unfortunately did not mention moon cakes as part of her answer. However. Terri was still regarded as a “China expert” for her interests in Chinese tea, wearing qipao, and participating in line dancing in public squares with “dancing grannies”. Terri also married a Chinese national.

moon cake expats foreigners chinese customsIt was the last interviewee, however, that provided the best answer of all. Amar, a yoga instructor from India (above), explained that, for Mid-Autumn Festival, he not only ate moon cake and looked at the moon; but, most importantly, he spent time with his family. He also understood how to market himself, and his yoga classes, to a Chinese consumer:

Because Mid-Autumn Festival is a festival of reunion, this means that our double person yoga sessions have this meaning of ‘two becomes one’.

Sure, you may loathe participating in the act of exchanging moon cakes that you never intend to eat every year…but remember, you’re not just eating a moon cake:  you’re eating a moon cake just as innumerable generations before you expected you to be eating it.

Photos: Sina Education, iFeng, Hexun

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