This past weekend, a group of friends and us got together to celebrate Mid-Autumn Festival together!
The boyfriend and I organized a dinner and a variety of activities. We’re lucky our friends in Montreal are so open to trying out and sharing in our cultural traditions. To be fair, I feel I’m getting out of touch with Chinese/Asian festivals—I can’t tell if it’s my generation or if it’s because I grew up in North America. But either way, the boyfriend and I are making an effort to try to celebrate traditional events. It’s hard to remember all the information my family used to remind me of every year now that we live alone, but it was a good chance for us to brush up on our culture!
We had everyone over for dinner and for the most part ordered Chinese food at a place we quite liked in Montreal. We also visited Chinatown that morning to buy a pound each of various HK BBQ meats. So the usual: char siu, roasted pork, soy sauce chicken, and roasted duck. I might’ve ordered enough food that my boyfriend and I now have leftovers for the next half a week…
After dinner, we then brought out the paper lanterns! We found paper lanterns for sale in Chinatown. I was worried we wouldn’t be able to get them here, but my boyfriend spotted them in one of the shops and we grabbed a pack. They’re pretty simple! And I’ve actually never lit paper candles. Growing up, my parents always bought me the electronic ones that switched on/off. The electronic ones usually would also blast some tinny-sounding music when it flickered on.
Out of the 12 lanterns we lit, we only burned down one. So…pretty successful? Everyone tied a string to their lantern and then attached it to a lone chopstick. We ended up going to the park and walking around with them until the birthday candles in the lanterns went out. At one point, during our walk to the park, we passed by a fire station. They firefighters who were catching a break outside eyed us suspiciously with our very flammable lanterns. But they ended up being good sports about it and said it was cool to see 🙂
After lanterns, we sat everyone down for mooncakes! I really was trying to set expectations with them on what “cakes” realistically meant in this case. I didn’t want anyone to be super disappointed when we brought out palm-size desserts that were meant to be split between multiple people. Each mooncake has almost 1,000 calories by the way. So it really is meant for sharing!
Everyone tried some! Which was nice given it is strange to get a dessert made of lotus paste to begin with—but adding in a salted duck yolk in the middle (or two in our case)? Probably pretty intimidating. We had a variety of other desserts like bombolonis, Uncle Testu cheesecakes, and egg tarts. Not quite traditional Mid-Autumn Festival stuff, but still fun!
To round off the night, we sat around and played a horror game together: Devotion. The game was really cool. I hope to write a separate review about it at some point to sum up my thoughts! Lots of cultural Chinese references and plenty scary. We managed to finish the game and ended the party at around 2 AM.
Happy we were able to share this neat tradition with our friends!