Opinion / 首页Blog

Is it the festival or the size of the cake?

By interdasglobal ( Updated: 2014-09-02 15:44

In this modern time some people believe that the festival has been hijacked by commercial interests, similar to the way Christmas in Western nations has become commercialized out of recognition.  The word ‘harvest’ has taken on new meaning in this 21st Century – it has been expanded and ‘monetized’, moving it from the reaping of crops to hopes of reaping material, cash-based wealth.  This may be a natural progression as the population moves from the countryside to urban centers, where wealth is centered (or should be centered) upon manufacturing, trade and commerce but it should not become an excuse for excessive commercialization and undeserved reward. It should not be a footpath to currying commercial favor where some people actually compete to give the most elaborate moon cake with its often exotic contents to those who it is hoped will look favorably upon the giver when business opportunities arise. 

As a foreigner I am always impressed by China’s love of family, I love hearing people say as a matter of course that they must please their Mother even when it means sacrificing their own desires.  And this ultra family oriented festival still acts like a magnet, drawing millions of Chinese back to the bosom of their extended family and community.  They go through the expense and agony of seasonal body-crushing travel by train, anxious delays in teeming airports and hour-upon-hour squeezed in cars on jam-packed roads just to spend a few precious days with mother and father and family – what a dedicated society.  

During my many years traveling for Interdas I have seen this same dedication in Africa but alas, it has been dead and buried in the West for at least 50 years.  I am not a social scientist, just an observer, so I don’t know what happened to kill it, but I suspect that the upheavals caused by years of world war and mass intercontinental emigration have led to a loss of family connection and left a cold void in the European psyche.

Maybe it is precisely the continuous un-broken centuries of the celebration of festivals such as The Moon Festival that creates the cement that keeps the bricks of family and community together, an annual reminder of who the people are; their roots and values.  I think that although I enjoy being an avid observer of the festival, I have to confess I am a little envious and sad that materialism, excessive individualism and e-isolation have contributed to the end of the extended family in Europe and America  and consequent loss of family values and legend. We, in the West, need our own Moon Festival.

Please China, don’t allow the 21st Century to mislead you down the path of false modernity; culture must walk hand in hand with progress if that progress is to be sustainable and beneficial to the lives of all people. It’s the depth of the culture NOT the size of the cake that matters.

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