Lanterns bring back memories of good old days for many

  • Nation
  • Thursday, 24 Sep 2020

Vibrant display: Patrons enjoying dim sum at the restaurant in Cintra Street, George Town, under an array of lanterns hung up to usher in the Mid-Autumn Festival. — CHAN BOON KAI/The Star

GEORGE TOWN: Patrons at a dim sum restaurant in Cintra Street here could not resist snapping photos of the multi-coloured traditional lanterns hanging from the ceiling in conjunction with the coming Mid-Autumn Festival.

With over 2,000 traditional tang long (Chinese lanterns) of various sizes and patterns hanging overhead, many were overcome with emotion as they reminisced about celebrating the festival in the past.

Among them was account executive Cyndy Chong, 42, who travelled to Penang from Kuala Lumpur for a holiday.

“I came here for dim sum but was surprised to see the beautiful traditional lanterns made of cellophane paper here.

“It instantly brought back memories of my childhood when I took part in lantern parades.

“There are some old shops in Kuala Lumpur that still sell these lanterns, but the selection is limited and the designs are not as nice, ” said Chong, who bought lanterns for her three children.

She said she loved old-school handmade items.

“I believe we should teach our children to appreciate the traditional value of local arts and crafts so that it may be passed on from generation to generation.

“I love collecting lanterns and keep the ones that I buy for my children every year, ” she added.

The Mid-Autumn Festival, also known as the Mooncake Festival, is traditionally celebrated on the 15th day of the eighth month of the Chinese lunar calendar.

This year, it falls on Oct 1.

Self-employed Summer Chen, 25, felt nostalgic when she saw the lanterns in the restaurant.

“They brought back a lot of memories from when I was a child. I miss those carefree days and the good times I spent with my family.

“I came to Penang for a food trip with my sister and a friend.

“In Kuala Lumpur, we seldom get to see traditional lanterns as they are now mostly battery-operated.

“They are not environmentally-friendly due to the batteries, ” she said.

The festival, which dates back to ancient China, pays homage to the moon and a good harvest.

The use of the word “mid-autumn” to describe the celebration first appeared in The Rites of Zhou, a book on bureaucracy and organisation that was written more than 2,000 years ago.

The term “mooncake” to describe the sweet delicacy was used for the first time during the Tang Dynasty (618-907).

A popular legend tells of how the Han Chinese rebels used mooncakes to pass on secret messages in the final uprising against Mongol rulers, leading to the creation of the Ming Dynasty in 1368.

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