Sunday, September 30, 2012

Mooncakes and Freedom

Today is the Mid-Autumn Festival, otherwise known as the Mooncake Festival. So I reveled in the holiday spirit the best way I could:

mooncakes for sale in Guangzhou, China
A variety of mooncakes for sale at a shop on Longjin East Road in Guangzhou

I have heard foreigners compare mooncakes to the sometimes dreaded fruitcake that can be passed from person to person. For example, some companies in China will give vouchers for boxes of mooncakes to their employees or business partners, and depending on your position or connections it is possible to end up with multiple vouchers. Although I enjoy mooncakes, I typically have little need for several boxes of them. Often I give most vouchers I receive to friends or coworkers who are happy to receive them. Do they want to eat more mooncakes? No. Instead, they typically use the voucher (or the mooncakes) as a present to give someone else...

The holiday also has a matchmaking tradition in some parts of China. That reminds me of a conversation I had today with this young woman:

young saleswoman at a clothing shop in Guangzhou, China

She works in international trade in Zhongshan, a city between Guangzhou and Zhuhai. However, she was spending the National Day holiday period (coincidentally overlapping with the Mid-Autumn Festival this year) working at her sister's clothing store in Guangzhou so her sister could be free to visit her hometown. I was checking out the store due to a side project I have been working on (some of which I hope to later share here), and she took the opportunity to try to sell me a shirt. They were all for females, though, so she said it could be a gift for my wife or daughter. After telling her I was not married and had no kids, I feigned feeling suddenly depressed and jokingly said "I am so sad."

She quickly and enthusiastically replied, "Don't be! You are free!"

So although there was no matchmaking for me today, at least her comment helps me appreciate my continued "freedom".

And by the way, I truly enjoyed the mooncake I chose at the shop in the first photo.

I also enjoyed that I did not walk away with an entire box.

Happy Mooncake Day!

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