With the increase of East Asian immigrants in the Bay Area, Moon Festival sounds more and more familiar to mainstream residents. The holiday dating more than 3,000 years back to China's Zhou Dynasty now brings moon cakes here every September.
For detailed information about various flavors of moon cakes, click here.
The quintessential dessert of Moon Festival is shaped like the full moon, which symbolizes family reunion to the Chinese. As this year's Moon Festival comes on Sunday, this weekend you will see local Chinese restraunts more crowded than usual for family banquets.
To celebrate Moon Festival as a Chinese-American, I have written an English poem to depict my extensive family's banquet for the holiday, which definitely resembles other local Chinese family reunions. The poem features my maternal grandfather, to whom I am sure many Chinese seniors here can relate.
I have also translated a Chinese moon poem almost every Chinese child is taught to recite. I hope this contributes to CSL (Chinese as a second language) education in Silicon Valley.
静夜思 Meditating in a Serene Night
作者：李白 By Li Po (701-762)
床前明月光 Moonlight glistens on the floor by my bed post
疑是地上霜 At first sight I mistook it for frost
举頭望明月 After looking up at the bright moon
低頭思故鄉 I lower my head, feeling homesick and lost
Family members reunite at a dining table
As round as the full moon's circle
Steamed crabs and moon cakes aromatize the banquet
For Moon Festival
Also tasty are noodles and a cake for Granddad's birthday
That coincides with the holiday
Marked by the eighth full moon of the lunar year
Celebrated by all Chinese in every way
An auspicious birthday
Eight decades ago he heard fortune tellers say
The harvest moon at birth signifies a lifetime of abundance
Come what may
What came year after year was war after war
Too much gore
He fled farther and farther away from home
With only his mother's ring from the idyllic life before
The pearl on the ring resembles the full moon shimmering over California
And the full moon that delighted his youthful years in China
The same moon had silvered the Silk Road
The eternal moon has accompanied the uprooted osmanthus tree
To transplant to the western territory
She continues to bless his golden years
Note: Crystal Tai is a regular contributor to Patch. She has published A Poetic Portal to Chinese culture, which introduces Chinese culture and holidays through English interpretations of Chinese poems, available on Amazon.com.