Our neighbours and friends start asking about the moon party in July. After seven years, the party has become a well-loved neighbourhood tradition. Pretty good considering we started with only eight guests, and most of our neighbours had never heard of Mid-Autumn Harvest Moon Festival before we moved here.
The parade is the best part. The kids love being outside after dark on a school night, banging pots with wooden spoons, or blowing whistles or kazoos, making as much noise as they can, carrying their little glowsticks and flashlights or lanterns. The neighbours can hear us coming from blocks away, and they go to their porches and windows to watch. The older neighbours tell me all year round how much they love seeing the kids go by in that parade. Many neighbours just come out and join in.
After the parade, everyone converges on our house for spring rolls, mooncakes, cupcakes and cookies. I work for weeks in advance making all the food for the party. I have to borrow kettles and teapots from the neighbours to make green tea by the gallon. Last year we had so many people in the house that I had to keep asking people to shuffle aside so I could open the oven where I was reheating spring rolls.
We set up the telescope in the driveway so everyone can take a look at the harvest moon, rising enormous and orange over the roof of the Chinese restaurant next door. The kids are instructed to think of their ancestors. The adopted kids look solemn for a minute, thinking of birth relatives far away, looking at the same moon. Then they run off to join the other kids playing with glowsticks in the dark.
It’s not exactly how a traditional Chinese or Vietnamese family would celebrate Mid-Autumn Moon Festival. But it’s how our family celebrates, and we love it.