Oct 12, 2012

The mooncake festival in our backyard

When I was young, the neighbourhood kids and I would walk the streets at night come Mooncake Festival season, guided by the light of a candle in a lantern. The traditional lanterns are made of wire and coloured translucent paper and hand-painted and are in the shape of animals.

traditional mooncake lanterns

traditional mooncake lanterns


These days, the lanterns come in all sorts of designs and makes. You can have Superman lanterns, Buzz Lightyear laterns, Japanese paper lanterns, etc etc etc. For safety and convenience, they are made of plastic, and powered by batteries and artificial light instead of fire. Some even churn out annoying, high pitched music when turned on.

But as with all things old, there is a charm about the traditional crafts that modern convenience cannot replace. Sure, you have to fiddle with a small candle and meld it to the wire structure, and light it at an awkward angle, whilst praying that the candle does not tilt and sear the delicate paper. The small candle burns out pretty quickly, requiring a replacement every 5 minutes.  The child has to walk slowly, to ensure the light does not blow out, and make sure the lantern stays upright throughout. But there is a magic about the way the flame brings life to the lantern and throws beautiful shadows on the ground.

traditional mooncake lanterns

traditional mooncake lanterns

Hubs brought these back from Malaysia on his short trip there and the boys played with them in the backyard. After a while, they got bored of just walking around and decided to play hide and seek in the dark accompanied by their lanterns. They took turns to be the seeker, and it went like this: "7...8...9...10...I see you!"

 It was the easiest game of seek ever, because in the midst of almost total darkness, you could see a glow from one corner of the garden!

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