The Adventures of Wu. This is a book that I have pleasure dipping into once every Chinese festival approaches.
In 2021 we celebrate the Mid-Autumn Festival on 21 September. Reading pages 31 to 41 of volume 2 I can see the manner of celebration has not changed over the centuries. On the night of the festival, the family gathered around the table and eat the delicious dishes cooked by the family chefs.
This book is actually a compilation of separate installments published in the English language Peking Chronicle in 1939-40. The writer was a native of Peking. He wrote the installments to portray the everyday life of a typical Chinese family in Peking roughly from the mid-1910s to the late 1930s. Life in the ancient city was still peaceful then.
Using the device of tracing the life of a son from a fictional Wu family from his birth to marriage, HY Lowe gives us vivid vignettes of everyday life in Peking, the games played by children, the cultural and religious beliefs, the birthday celebrations, the festivals celebrated like the Lunar New Year, the Mid-Autumn Festival and the Dragon Boat Festival.
To readers, this book will provide a snapshot of old Peking with all its nostalgic glory and humanity, before the misery caused by the Japanese invasion and the Communist revolution irrevocably changed China.