Sunday, September 30, 2007

September news Flash

This month we welcome 3 new models to our childcare centre

Sebastian is 1 month old

His older brother Matthew who was at the centre 2 years ago


Sorry, no photo of Ryan yet

His older brother Ryan who was at the centre 2 years ago

Sze Wei is 10 months old. We have a slight feeding problem with her. She refuses to take milk from the bottle as she is totally breast fed and she refuses to eat solid food.

This is what she does whenever she is offered food and she gags on food that is slightly coarse having been used to baby jar food since she was 6 months old.

I have to start training her as if she was 4 months old. Will keep you updated about her progress and if I can succeed in getting her to enjoy her food.


Zaydeen completed her fourth month so it is time to start introducing semi solids

She really enjoyed the experience

Kyan is crawling commando style and able to go to sitting position. He is 6 months old

Not to be outdone, Josiah decides to crawl commando style as well

Our annual lantern party

Every year we try to get all the children who were at Bouncy Babes to come back for a reunion party and the best time is during this festival when the children get to play with their lanterns and the parents catch up with the latest news.

Some photos of the event. More photos to come

Mooncake Festival

The Moon festival (also called the Mooncake or Mid-Autumn festival) falls on 25 th September this year. Every year on the fifteenth day of the eighth lunar month, when the moon is at its maximum brightness for the entire year, the Chinese celebrate this festival. Legend says that her beauty is greatest on the day of the Moon festival.

The Four Stories of the Chinese Mid Autumn Festival

Chang Er

Folklore has it that Chang Er was married to the divine archer Hou Yi who shot nine out of 10 suns that were causing havoc on earth. For his deed, the Queen Mother of the West gave him the elixir of life. Chang-Er stole her husband's potion of immortality, drank it and found herself floating to the moon. There she lives out her days in the cold lonely moon palace.

A slightly different version says that Hou Yi was a tyrannical ruler and Chang-Er drank the magic potion to prevent him from becoming immortal.

Wu Kang

Wu Kang was a shiftless fellow who changed apprenticeships all the time. One day he decided that he wanted to be an immortal. Wu Kang then went to live in the mountains where he importuned an immortal to teach him. First the immortal taught him about the herbs used to cure sickness, but after three days his characteristic restlessness returned and he asked the immortal to teach him something else. So the immortal taught him chess, but after a short while Wu Kang's enthusiasm again waned. Then Wu Kang was given the books of immortality to study. Of course, Wu Kang became bored within a few days, and asked if they could travel to some new and exciting place. Angered with Wu Kang's lack of perseverance, the master banished Wu Kang to the Moon Palace telling him that he must cut down a huge cassia tree before he could return to earth. Though Wu Kang chopped day and night, the magical tree restored itself with each blow, and thus he is up there still chopping away.

The moon rabbit

In this legend, three fairy sages transformed themselves into pitiful old men and begged for something to eat from a fox, a monkey and a rabbit. The fox and the monkey both had food to give to the old men, but the rabbit, empty-handed, offered his own flesh instead, jumping into a blazing fire to cook himself. The sages were so touched by the rabbit's sacrifice that they let him live in the Moon Palace where he became the "Jade Rabbit."

Moon cakes

Mooncakes became part of the Mid-Autumn Festival from the Yuan dynasty when China was ruled by the Mongolian people. Leaders from the preceding Sung dynasty were unhappy at submitting to foreign rule, and set out to co-ordinate a rebellion without it being discovered. The leaders of the rebellion, knowing that the Moon Festival was drawing near, ordered the making of special cakes. Packed into each mooncake was a message with the outline of the attack. On the night of the Moon Festival, the rebels successfully attacked and overthrew the government. What followed was the establishment of the Ming dynasty.

Today, mooncakes are eaten to commemorate this event.

For generations, mooncakes have been made with sweet fillings of nuts, mashed red beans, lotus-seed paste or Chinese dates, wrapped in a pastry. Sometimes, a cooked egg yolk representing the moon can be found in the middle of the rich tasting dessert. While in the past mooncakes took up to four weeks to make, automation has speeded up the process considerably. Today, mooncakes may be filled with everything from dates, nuts, and fruit to Chinese sausages. More exotic creations include green tea mooncakes, and snowskin mooncakes, a Southeast Asian variation made with cooked glutinous rice flour. Haagen-Dazs has even gotten into the act by introducing a line of ice cream mooncakes in Asian markets.

Everybody including children hikes up high mountains or hills or onto open beaches to view the moon in the hope that their wishes will be granted.
To celebrate this sighting of the moon, red plastic lanterns wrought in traditional styles and embellished with traditional motifs are prepared for the occasion.
The lanterns are made in the traditional shapes of rabbits, goldfish, carps, butterflies, lobsters and star-shaped fruits. However, nowadays, lanterns are made in the shapes of missiles, airplanes, rockets, ships and cartoon characters. In Chinese mythology, the butterfly is the symbol of longevity and the lobster the symbol of mirth. Star-shaped fruit is the seasonal fruit in the autumn, and the carp is an old symbol of the Emperor, personifying strength, courage, wisdom and of course, power.

Old wives tales associated with this festival

  • If you desire to have flawless skin, you have to cut the pomelo in front of the moon. The peeling away of the thick pomelo skin (riddled with tiny dimples) signifies peeling away facial scars or pimples.
  • Some Chinese also believe that when you peel off the skin of boiled mini yams (wu chai in Cantonese), you will get rid of facial imperfections.
  • Peanuts and sponge cakes are auspicious offerings in the hope for ``good health.'' The cakes are also a favourite food of the deities and are said to be excellent offerings for upward mobility.

The eclipse of the moon during this festival was a bad celestial sign in the old days. The Chinese believed that the Heavenly Dog was trying to eat up the moon. They would beat drums and gongs to scare the dog away. I remember my grandma used to make the children watch the moon on this night every year in case the Heavenly Dog ate the moon. There was one year when the moon started disappearing and we ran around looking for all sorts of utensils to beat so that the noise will frighten the Heavenly Dog away. Can you imagine the din in the whole neighbourhood? Everybody was so happy and excited when the moon reappeared. Looking back I think what had happened was the moon going behind a cloud, but we had a good time making all that racket.