The silvery glow of the moon, reflecting on the serene waters of Jersey, beckons a wave of nostalgia. It instantly brings to my mind a verse from the celebrated Tang Dynasty poet, Li Bai: “举头望明月，低头思故乡” (Jǔ tóu wàng míng yuè, dī tóu sī gù xiāng). Translated, it reads, “I raise my head to view the bright moon, and bow my head in thoughts of home.” This sentiment, echoing feelings of homesickness and a connection to one’s roots, has been deeply instilled in me since childhood.
The Golden Week Resonance
October 1st ushers in China’s “Golden Week”, an 8-day government-mandated holiday. While initially intended to stimulate domestic commerce and tourism, it has evolved into a cherished break from daily routines.
Embracing Mid-Autumn Traditions
Interestingly, this period frequently coincides with the Mid-Autumn Festival. Central to this lunar event, the moon has been a recurring muse in Chinese literature. As families come together, relishing the sweet and savory mooncakes with their intricate patterns and fillings, and paying homage to their ancestors, I’m transported to memories of profound traditions that shape my identity, despite the miles that separate me from them.
Moreover, the spirit of this festival doesn’t just live in memories or distant lands. In conjunction with the Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Team and the Reach Group within the government, I’ve been actively championing the East and Southeast Heritage Month. This initiative has enabled me to cultivate a close-knit, dynamic community here. We come together to share and celebrate these traditions with colleagues, discussing the nuances of the Mid-Autumn Festival and the significance of the National Day. This melding of cultures and shared experiences reinforces that traditions can be celebrated and revered, no matter where we are.
A Moment to Remember
A particularly poignant memory from this year was attending the Corn Riots Festival at the Royal Square last Sunday. As the moon began its ascent, the tune of the L is M band filled the air. Surrounded by colleagues, those with whom I’ve worked tirelessly to bring diverse cultural experiences to the island, I was overwhelmed by a sense of belonging. The collaborative efforts we poured into making Jersey a more inclusive and beautiful place to live were palpable at that moment. It’s difficult to articulate just how profoundly I felt at home on this beautiful island that evening.
For many Chinese, both locally and abroad, this extended holiday is an invitation to travel, to return to our hometowns, reunite with loved ones, and reconnect with our roots.
Pondering from Afar
The calm shores of Jersey offer a contrasting solitude to the bustling streets of China during Golden Week, yet the moon remains a shared sight. Residing overseas grants a distinct vantage point. National Day and the encompassing Golden Week are not merely celebratory occasions but also times for introspection. They lead to thoughts of our shared heritage, the memories we hold dear, and the intricate journey of our homeland.
As the moonlit evening in Jersey gently transitions to dawn, the enduring words of Li Bai resonate, reminding me that no matter the distance or where I find myself, “home is where I am.”