In Taiwan, Moon Festival (or 中秋節, the Mid-Autumn Festival) traditionally means gorging ourselves on lots of beautifully-wrapped moon cakes and pineapple cakes from the best bakeries across Taiwan. However, did you know that it's also an important day for birthday cake?
That's because Moon Festival is also the birthday of 月老 (Yue Lao), also known as the Old Man Under the Moon (月下老人), the Matchmaking God, or the Love God. Given the importance of 月老 at the Taipei Xia-Hai City God Temple (台北霞海城隍廟) on Dihua Street in Dadaocheng, the temple holds an elaborate birthday celebration for the deity annually, complete with a 9-layer birthday cake. All who visit the temple on 月老's birthday are welcome to come share the towering cake. Visitors also have the chance to don traditional wedding costumes, and "brides" given the opportunity to be carried in a bright red wedding palanquin or 喜轎 (xǐ jiào), a type of covered sedan chair, as their "grooms" accompany them on foot.
Praying for Love
Although Lunar Valentine's Day, or Qixi Festival (七夕節, the seventh day of the seventh lunar month), is the most popular day for singletons (or their concerned parents) to come to the temple to ask 月老 for some help in the love department, in fact it is believed that 月老's birthday is the most effective. If you could use a little heavenly intervention in your search for love, you can get familiar with the process of praying to 月老 first, but rest assured there are guides at the temple who can assist you in English or Japanese.