The next two days mark key cultural events for some of our colleagues and we send best wishes for these celebrations.

The Mid-Autumn Festival is celebrated today (1 October) by many East Asian communities and is also known as the Moon or Mooncake Festival. This festival worships the moon and gives thanks for the harvest.

Tomorrow (2 October) is Gandhi Jayanti, Mahatma Gandhi’s Birthday, which honours Ghandi as the leader of the Indian movement for independence.

Mid-Autumn or Moon Festival

 

This festival began over 3,000 years ago in China. People have long believed that worshipping the moon and eating together around a round table will bring them good luck and happiness.

In China, the festival is a reunion time for families, just like Thanksgiving, while in Vietnam it’s more like a children’s day.

This festival is also the same day as China National Day. The Mid-Autumn Festival is the second most important festival in China after Chinese New Year. Chinese people celebrate it by gathering for dinners, sharing mooncakes, worshipping the moon with gifts, and displaying and flying lanterns. In Hong Kong, a unique annual fire dragon show is also held.

In Japan, people wear their national dress and children collect reeds to decorate doors, which is a symbol of good luck and happiness. In Singapore, it’s traditional for children to hang lanterns and Singaporeans eat durian-filled moon cakes.

In Malaysia there are dragon and lion dances, a float parade and cultural singing and dancing. In South Korea, the Mid-Autumn festival is one of Korea’s biggest holidays and is spread across three days. In the Philippines, celebrations include a dragon dance parade, an ethnic clothing parade, a lantern parade and a float parade.

Gandhi Jayanti

Gandhi Jayanti celebrates the birth of one of India’s most famous freedom fighters and is one of only three national holidays in India. This year celebrates the 151st anniversary of Mahatma Gandhi’s birth. Gandhi devoted his life to securing Indian independence from Britain and this earned him the title of ‘Father of the Nation’.

He is lovingly addressed as ‘Bapu’ and Indian people celebrate his bravery, standing up for independence in a non-violent (‘ahimsa’) manner.  On Gandhi Jayanti people revisit his ideas and ideologies and feel the importance of patriotism, recognising the country’s unity because of one person and his actions.

Mahatma Ghandi was born Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi on 2 October 1869 in Porbandar, Gujurat and was a lawyer by profession. In addition to fighting for freedom from the British Empire, Gandhi also fought against the pre-existing Indian caste system.

On Gandhi Jayanti people from all walks of life, including different religions and castes unite together to hold commemorative activities and cultural events. Indian communities send each other Happy Gandhi Jayanti wishes with messages and Gandhi quotes.

 

Photo credits

Banner image: Min An, via Pexels.com

Mid-Autumn Festival image: ChinaHighlights.com

Gandhi image: IndiaTimes.com