The city fills with nostalgia whenever the Mid-Autumn Festival draws near as the holidays always translate to family reunions. But urbanization and commercialization seem to have replaced this nostalgic feelings with…practicality. Could it be that the cultural significance of the Mid-Autumn Festival is already lost among today’s generation?
According to Xiao Yang, “The Mid-Autumn Festival holiday is too short. After going home, I need to come back immediately after a few days.” This is her third time spending the holidays alone in Hong Kong.
Xiao Yang was born in 1986, a native of Jinnan. Even before she stopped going home for the holidays, her attitude towards the Mid-Autumn Festival is already muted. In order to feel festive, she would go out with her girlfriends to spend the festival on the school grounds.
But after staying in Hong Kong University, she realized the importance and how luxurious it is to go home. “For us born in the ’80s, except for rent, food, and basic expenses, we are basically 月光族 (monthly salary spenders). The return home ticket from Hong Kong to Jinnan will cost me RMB 2,800. Even the round-trip from Shenzhen will already cost RMB 1,500.”
Homesickness is inevitable. When walking along the streets of Hong Kong during the Mid-Autumn Festival, she would miss the leisurely life in Jinnan.
Earlier this year, she used her wages to buy her parents a computer with webcam, so they could chat and wish each other blessings while looking at the full moon together from their part of the world.
Although she is closer to home, Xiao Zhang has also decided not to go home for the Mid-Autumn Festival. “When you are young, the holidays is the most important thing in the world. But as you get older, you realize you do not need to go home.”
Xiao Yang and Xiao Zhang represent the majority who thinks it is not necessary to spend the holidays at home. Before the actual date of the Mid-Autumn Festival, several websites made an online survey that said 21% netizens encourage people to go home during the Mid-Autumn Festival. 42% said better go home during the National Day instead. A small 9% thinks going home at least once a year is enough.
To return or to not to return–this has become a hot topic during these times of the year. According to Professor Wang Zhongwu of Shandong University, those born in the 60′s and 70′s see these reunions as an emotional need. They also feel tremendous pressure from the society in making rational decisions.
As for those born in the 80′s and 90′s, they feel no such pressure. Holidays are primarily for rest and entertainment. Many young people use this time to travel outside the country.
“However, people should still try to go home for the Mid-Autumn Festival,” Professor Wang said. “Close relationships with the family is still the most important.”