Tag Archives: Mid-Autumn Moon Festival

中秋節 Mid-Autumn Moon Festival Celebrations 🌕 St. James-Style!

Mid-Autumn Moon Festival, when the moon is believed to be at its biggest and brightest for the whole year, has just been and gone, and it was quite some festival! As it fell on Thursday, October 1, so Taiwan had a 4-day holiday weekend ~ traditionally a time for family reunions, moon-gazing, barbecues, eating mooncakes and pomelo fruits. Even Teddy was celebrating, as children do – with the pomelo peel on his head!

Family reunions mean travel – as everyone heads home – which means traffic jams and long queues to get anywhere, but hey, it’s all worth it! It also means family outings to resorts, the beach, countryside, mountains, restaurants, shopping, coffee shops or wherever. Our area here on the NW Coast is always full of traffic on weekends and holidays – including the Harley Davidsons who roar up to the beach each weekend. This was the scene early on Thursday, while the guys were having breakfast…

Near the beach is the Shuang-Lien Care Home, and I started the Moon Festival by visiting my good friend, Mrs. Hsu – she’s always pleased to see me, and in case you’re wondering about Covid-19 precautions, we took off our facemasks only for coffee and this photo below. Visitors are welcomed in the communal areas, with temperature checks, facemasks on – especially when moving around, and booking is required in advance with limited numbers at one time. Thankfully, Covid-19 continues to be under control in Taiwan, and work and schools continue more or less as normal, but the closure of the borders and mandatory, closely-monitored 14-day quarantine for citizens and residents returning to Taiwan means that family members overseas are largely grounded – overseas. Many with elderly parents here are therefore unable to come back and visit, so Mrs. Hsu has not seen any of her 3 children or grandchildren since just after Chinese New Year. Fortunately, they are all very good at keeping in touch with her, and she’s always very cheerful and so appreciative of all their love and support. In the photo, taken with her helper, Linda, we’re in the middle of saying hello to her family, hence the expression!

On Thursday afternoon off I set for Taichung. Of course every seat on every bus, train and high-speed rail was sold out weeks ago, but hey, I still gotta go! So, don’t be put off by lack of a ticket, the answer is to head across Taipei to Nangang, the High-Speed Rail terminus, buy a non-reserved ticket and line up for a train leaving about 30 minutes later. I was No. 8 in my line, so a seat was waiting for me, but behind me were many people wishing they’d got in line earlier. By the time the train left Nangang every seat was taken – and all those queueing up at Taipei had to stand.

I spent the weekend at my old home of St. James’ Church, Taichung ~ lured by the fact that the first Sunday of each month is my Sunday for doing the sermon at St. James’ English Service, so I had to go anyway – but went 3 days early, invited by all the wonderful people there. It’s actually the 4th time so far this year that a long holiday weekend has coincided with the first Sunday of the month, so my visits are many and often!

The kindergarten display boards outside St. James were showing the children’s art work for the Moon Festival, they’ve clearly been learning some of the history and myths around the festival, including the moon rabbit – just love ‘em!

St. James always knows how to organize events and celebrate, so I was invited to join in too. Thank you, all you lovely people of St. James! Rev. Charles C. T. Chen invited me to dinner on his wife’s 85th birthday – then all the family came along too – their second celebration meal of the day, having also had a special birthday lunch only a few hours earlier!

I was also welcomed to join the youth group and young adults’ barbecue at St. James, always a great event!

My good friend, Ah-Guan invited me to join their St. James fellowship group on a trip to Xinshe, up in the hills above Taichung, and yes Charles and MaryJo came too…

Plus we had a visit to a mushroom farm where you can pick your own mushrooms – we even had mushroom ice-lollies! Not bad, not bad!

And we finished that day at a very special coffee place, run by some friends of one of our group in the front yard of their home, located down some very narrow streets in a very rural village, surrounded by vineyards and coffee bushes. Mr. Hsu runs the coffee business with his very lovely Cambodian wife, Ms. Gao, who made up lots of their home-grown coffee for us to enjoy, and shared about her life these last 20+ years in Taiwan. Oh yes, and we sang some karaoke, including the most famous Moon Festival song (more or less the only one I can sing in Chinese!) originally sung by Teresa Teng, 月亮代表我的心 “The Moon Represents My Heart.” And my forever favourite for these occasions, ‘You are my sunshine!’ Ah yes, the atmosphere was really wonderful, it was really the highlight of the day!

Where else did we go over the weekend? Well, we saw the big wheel at Lihpao 麗寶樂園 when we visited the outlet mall for lunch … don’t ask about the bus getting there in all that traffic and how long it took. No photos of traffic jams, but hours and hours is the answer! But hey, buses in Taichung are virtually free of charge – so just sit back and relax!

The most beautiful place we visited was definitely Gaomei Wetlands 高美溼地, where we went on Sunday afternoon, by bus again – to the west coast. The boardwalk leads out to the mudflats, and everyone loves watching the fiddler crabs – see the crowds!…

And finally, on Monday afternoon, off I went about an hour south of Taichung to Yuanlin, Changhua. First stop was to try some tasty Ba-Wan 肉圓 Meatballs, famous local Yuanlin produce – and to check out the local scene…

Then I met up with Rev. Philip Ho and his wife Nancy, who had driven 90 minutes NNE-ish from Grace Church, Tainan, and we went to Chung Chou University of Science and Technology 中州科技大學, Yuanlin, to lead a service in English for a group of overseas students there. Philip led the service, including Holy Communion, I did the sermon, same as the day before at St. James ~ The Kingdom of Fruit (that’s Taiwan!) vs The Fruits of the Kingdom (Matt. 21:28-46). 🤔

There are about 60 students studying at Chung Chou University who are from Eswatini (Swaziland) and Uganda, and the service was timed for after their classes finished, about 5:00 pm. This is a new monthly venture that started last semester at the request of one of the people working in the university international office who knew Philip from her previous work at St. James. Philip is extremely energetic and really good at relating to young people – and overseas people too, so he’s the ideal person! The students run their own Bible Study fellowship groups and some travel far on Sundays to find a church service in English. They were great – and really appreciated us coming! Two young men, both named Solomon, one from Eswatini, one from Uganda, along with Everest from Uganda are celebrating their birthdays about now, and Philip and Nancy had brought along a cake. Thanks be to God for this new ministry!

Ah yes, I have so many happy memories of the Mid-Autumn Festival 2020! Thanks again to all at St. James for making it so special!

A grey Mid-Autumn Moon Festival @ Keelung!

A grey grey day in Keelung, on Taiwan’s NE coast, as always!  Grey city, grey weather.  But particularly so today as the country surfaces after yesterday’s Typhoon Meranti, and prepares for tomorrow’s Typhoon Malakas.  We’re in a kind of typhoon-sandwich….


Today is Mid-Autumn Moon Festival, the first day of a 4-day holiday weekend, when the moon is supposedly at its best and brightest all year ha ha ~ no sign of any moon round here!  It’s grey grey grey with rain rain rain and more rain!


In Keelung today, my arrival coincided with the arrival of the huge Golden Princess Cruise Ship returning from a 5-day cruise to Japan….

img_8433 img_8435 img_8438

In fact the only major colour in Keelung was all the balloons on sale outside the famous temple!


Keelung outdoes itself for signs and billboards saying ‘Keelung’ or ‘I love Keelung’, including on the roadside electricity substations….


Hopefully the locals do love Keelung ~ even if they don’t love the Keelung weather!

Typhoon Dujuan 杜鵑颱風‬

Typhoons come, typhoons go, trees crash down, but thank God for His great mercy!

And yet another major typhoon has delighted us with its presence ~ this one, Typhoon Dujuan, was combined with the super moon and the high tides of the lunar eclipse, to make it potentially more dangerous….

Taiwan’s Mid-Autumn Moon Festival was celebrated this weekend, with a 3-day holiday. When we packed up on Friday, we knew there was a tropical storm out there in the Pacific Ocean – but it was heading north to Japan.  By Friday evening, it had changed direction more towards Taiwan, grown into a medium-sized typhoon, and flooding and major damage became a big possibility.

By yesterday, the medium-sized typhoon had become much bigger, and was forecast to be a direct hit, passing right over the island.  And as yesterday was the 3rd day of the moon festival, also a typhoon day (official closures of school and work), so all roads and public transport were packed with people trying to get home. In the event, hundreds of flights, trains and buses were cancelled or delayed, but fortunately late last night, the local governments declared today to be a typhoon day too for northern and central Taiwan.

Typhoon Dujuan made landfall early evening yesterday on the east coast at Ilan, and left Taiwan from the central west coast, Changhua, at 1:00am this morning.

And we survived to tell the tale.

So here we are. Tuesday morning.  Clearing up.  Again!

Actually as typhoons go, this was not as bad as Typhoon Soudelor last month.  Nowhere near as bad.  More rain, but less wind.  Don’t get me wrong, there was a huge amount of wind.  But less than Typhoon Soudelor.  My tin roof did not blow off.  My bathroom ceiling did not blow in.  My windows did rattle.  But hey, I slept all night!

So early today at St. John’s University, there I was.  Being blown in all directions by huge gusts of wind.  But wearing my motorcycle helmet just in case.  Camera at the ready.

Rescued a poor and very pathetic small dog who had fallen into the pool outside Advent Church and couldn’t get out and was wailing and whimpering.  Actually that’s a lie – I tried to rescue it but it nearly bit my hand off, so the guard from the school gate came in his wellies and with his golf club….

A few large trees down, including a huge one outside Advent Church, which fortunately fell in the other direction onto the basketball court, taking the metal fence with it.  Many small trees, motorcycles, signboards, ceiling boards and chairs down all over. But much less than the last time when I wandered round the campus after the last typhoon.  This time, I even got into the campus of the junior-high school next door, which after the last typhoon was totally inaccessible due to fallen trees. Now the trees are completely cleared away, they have a beautiful new red roof to replace the one that blew off, and apart from a few small trees down, their school is looking good.

Typhoon Dujuan kills two in Taiwan – BBC News

So a few photos from St. John’s University this morning.  Very much the morning after the night before…..

And just to update you a little, the damage to St. John’s University caused by the last typhoon, Typhoon Soudelor, on August 8, is now estimated to cost about NT$ 3 million (US$ 100,000 or £66,000). Turned out that many of the higher-level classrooms on the 7th floor and above were flooded out and rooftop water tanks and other equipment all destroyed.  This time, it’ll be less, but of course we’ll only know tomorrow when everyone gets back to work and classes resume….

Thank God for His great mercy once again upon us and upon Taiwan.

wpid-img_20150929_055958.jpgAnd guess what? This morning at 6:00am, there was a rainbow outside my house.


North Coast Kite Festival 2015 @ Baishawan 白沙灣 !

It’s Mid-Autumn Moon Festival today, one of the most important festivals of the year, celebrated with barbecues and moon-gazing, visits home and moon cakes.  We even have a day off on Monday to make the most of it all.   Yippee!

IMG_6015It’s also the weekend of Taiwan’s annual North Coast Kite Festival at Baishawan Beach 白沙灣 just a mile or so up the road from here.  Must-go!

Ah yes, and to top it all, we have a typhoon on the way! Hopefully the last of the season. Typhoons mean rain and wind, and certainly no moon-gazing, but the wind is of course ideal for kites and the grey skies mean it’s a very pleasant temperature…

So this was the scene yesterday afternoon at Baishawan – millions of people and zillions of kites.  You can just spot the lighthouse at the northern tip of Taiwan in the far distance….


A great atmosphere!  The beach was cordoned off, and the whole area dedicated to kite flying and kite-surfing displays.  Beautiful!  The photos are, well, a bit grey, but hey those kites were huge and pretty amazing!

I just love kites!

Advent Church Community Concert 社區音樂會 2014….

And packed out the church was!  Kids and parents, church members, local people, university staff and students, visitors, and members of the nearby Bunun Indigenous Church ~ all here at Advent Church last night for our annual community concert, always held around the time of the Mid-Autumn Moon Festival…

Dancing, singing, performances on trumpet, violin, piano, guitar and xylophone ~ a great atmosphere, and many new friends made ~ all part of our community outreach programme…

Only one big splash during the concert when a lady in the dancing group so busy taking photos didn’t see the baptismal pool ankle-deep in water in front of her…..aaaahhhhhh! But she danced right on through her performance, soaking wet feet ‘n all!

Happy Moon Festival!

And St. James’ Church, Taichung annual Moon Festival BBQ was another great success!

Officially called the Mid-Autumn Moon Festival, but autumn feels a zillion years away ~ it was sooooooo hot and humid ha ha!

And of course the moon is supposed to be full, and at its best and most beautiful for the whole year, as but the actual full moon and the Moon Festival is not until Monday we have a few days to go yet.  Not that it stopped us enjoying ourselves…. smiles all round!

So Happy Moon Festival everyone!