Mid-autumn day, some call it the Moon festival, is an important holiday for many people with Chinese cultural backgrounds. It is on August 15th in the Lunar calendar every year. On this day the moon is most round and complete, which is a symbol of hope that the family can be complete and happy together.
Mid-Autumn festival reminds Chinese people of their desire to be home. Especially older members in the family deeply wish to have their children and grandchildren to come home. This is a day to think about family and be together.
For international students and visiting scholars, this holiday has always been a sentimental day. They are far away from home, and it is easy to feel lonely and homesick at this time.
After months of social distancing, being alone away from family, this year, the loneliness and homesick is extra overwhelming.
This year’s holiday is unique because the mid-autumn festival happens to fall on the same day as China’s national independence day on Oct 1st. It can be exceptionally meaningful for many Chinese people this year.
In Chinese culture, it is traditional to consider family and country are inseparable. When the country is under war, or experiencing pain and persecution, no family can possibly enjoy peace and happiness. So people say, country comes first. This has been a high value in many Chinese people’s minds.
After the pandemic broke out, many members of Chinese community in America experienced pressure, identity crisis and constant worry. With the intense political tensions between countries, many no longer felt welcomed but rejected here. And, news that Chinese Apps like WeChat and TikTok would be banned in the U.S. brought much fear and agony to Chinese in the United States. They felt it was a signal of rejection of their culture. Yet, these actions also triggered a sense of unity and national pride amongst the Chinese here.
After the tension between countries and unsettling experiences in the past several months, it might be a particularly sentimental time for many Chinese people in America this year. On this special day for your Chinese friend, you have a special opportunity. Here are some ways you can bless them.
1) Make a personal connection. Your Chinese friend will feel recognized and appreciated if they hear from you on this day. Send them a text or call them to wish them “Happy Mid-Autumn Day” and “Happy Independence Day”. This gesture will mean so much to them. And since eating mooncakes is an important tradition, you can ask them if they are enjoying a mooncake on this day. Or, you could pick up a mooncake and personally deliver to your friend or share one with them.
2) Express genuine interest in them. Ask them to share about their family in China. Ask them to explain what type of traditions they would celebrate with their family. Ask them what they miss about not being home with their family on this day.
3) Offer a safe space for their hearts if they are homesick, sad or feeling sentimental, offer words of assurance for acceptance and understanding. Be a good listener and pray with them, ask our Lord for comfort and encouragement for them and their families.
We hope that you would have a good time and conversation with your Chinese friends. Wish your Chinese friends would feel the invitation to enjoy a home away from home on this special day. 中秋快乐！（Happy mid-autumn festival!）