On October 3rd, SFYAD organized a celebration of the Mid-Autumn Festival, where a total of 9 people attended the joyous event. Like every other recent activities, this event was conducted over Zoom; however that did not damper the festivity of Mid-Autumn celebrations, a traditional festival observered by East and Southeast Asian people. On top of that, the programme included an introduction of a lesser known festival, called the Double Ninth Festival, which falls on the 9th day of the ninth month in the lunar calendar.
The event started off with the participants sharing their own experiences and memories of celebrating Mid-Autumn, as each and every participant came from different backgrounds and cultures. While almost all shared the same customs of playing with lanterns and having mooncakes, there were indeed subtle differences between the varied cultures.
After the exchange of stories, the participants were given an introduction about the festival, including its origins, why and how people celebrated this day. Following the tradition of 猜燈謎 (a form of Chinese riddle guessing game), a quiz of about the occasion was presented to the participants to test their knowledge (and if they were listening attentively to the video!).
In the second segment of the event, the participants were greeted with the introduction of Double Ninth Festival (重陽節). Again, a video introducing the story of the festival was played. After that, instead of a quiz, the participants were split into 4 pairs to design postcards; as the festival is marked as a day to remember and respect our seniors - these postcards were to be mailed to the elders of the San Francisco BLIA chapters and temple devotees.
The postcards included quotes from poets and sages that relates to the Dharma and nature, and featured mountains as it is common for people to go on hikes on this day. Each of the postcards included a message for the recipient, expressing the group's care and affection during this long period of lockdown, wishing them good health and to always treasure the present moment.
All of the 70 postcards were mailed on Oct 22nd such that they will arrive on the day of Double Ninth which falls on Oct 25th. After about a week, SFYAD started receiving text messages from the elders whom expressed their appreciation of the postcard they received! Several of them shared that it was a heartwarming gesture and also posted pictures of them cards.