Pitahaya Harvest Moon Festival

(Updated October 8, 2015, see note below).

Late summer glorious blooms on our pitahaya were attracting bees so we were hopeful that the bloom seen below and in my last post, “End of summer flowers, fruit and promises,” would yield a mature fruit in time for the Mid-Autumn Harvest Festival.

DSC_0380 Glorious pitahaya bloom 8:15:15

While waiting for the fruit to grow and mature, we celebrated Rosh Hashanah* by eating round challah that I made, which symbolizes the cycle of the year.

DSC_0557 My Rosh Hashanah challah

Meanwhile in our backyard, Monarch butterfly caterpillars (fifth instar), with the characteristic complex banding pattern and very small front legs close to the head, were feasting on our Asclepsias curassavica, aka Milkweed plant, and blood flower.*

DSC_0551 Monarch catterpillar (5th instar)

The caterpillars then attach themselves to a horizontal surface, molt into an opaque, blue-green chrysalis, and emerge as a butterfly after a few weeks. (See a metamorphosis time-lapse*)

DSC_0043 Monarch butterfly on Asclepias

As seen in my previous post, the above pitahaya flower was pollinated by bees and developed beautiful fruit seen below (one month after the bloom).

DSC_0575 Pitahaya fruit, 33 days old

And one week later:

DSC_0582 Pitahaya fruit, 39 days old

Four days later, it was ready to harvest, which I did during the evening of the Super Blood Moon, beautifully described and illustrated in Bert Gildart’s blog post, “Blood Moon”, Glimpses From Bert & Jane Gildart’s Travel Adventures.

BloodMoon-42 credit- Bert Gildart

(Photo credit: Bert Gildart)

While this orb was red, an Orb-weaver spider was waiting for its prey.

DSC_0040 Orb-weaver spider

I placed my Nikon camera on a tripod in front of our Moon Festival display, which Larry had set up earlier, ready to be energized by the full light of the moon when it emerged from the Earth’s shadow.  During the eclipse, I climbed a ladder and harvested the pitahaya, which was placed on the raised (compote) dish, holding the moon cakes.

DSC_0018_2 Moon Festival 2015

The Moon Festival, is one of many international harvest festivals.   The Mid-Autumn Festival, is celebrated in mainland China, Taiwan, Vietnam, and by ethnic Chinese people worldwide.  It is a charming tradition of remembering and honoring family and friends, near and far.  It is thought that propitious festival symbols with circular shapes be displayed and enjoyed such as moon cakes.

DSC_0033 Moon Festival table

Our Moon Festival display included: a compote holding two moon cakes (harmony, unity) and pitahaya halves, a bowl of water to capture the reflection of the moon, apples (fertility), grapes (fertility), peanuts (good health, abundance), Jin Chan, a three-legged toad (wealth), red hibiscus (life, good luck), brass incense holder, candles, and a scroll painting of Chang-o, Chinese goddess of the Moon.

One and a half months in the making, our pitahaya was a very propitious sign for success in the coming year and at this time of the Mid-Autumn Festival, we wish all of our friends good health and happiness!*

The Super Blood Moon was also a propitious sign in that for a moment it caught the world’s attention and imagination, and hopefully, as people gazed at the beauty and wonder of the moon, they imagined a world living in peace!*

DSC_0025 Moon cakes & pitahaya fruit

*This is a link to a YouTube video.

Author’s Update:

Please see my latest update in my post, “Spring flowers, leaves and end of life options,” about the End of Life Option Act and its passage through the California Legislature and signature into law by Governor Brow on Monday, October 5, 2015!


About Bill D.

Bill is a retired RN who has enjoyed working as a docent in a well-known historic house museum, and now is a proud volunteer in San Diego's newest state-of-the-art hospital, Kaiser Permanente San Diego Medical Center. He enjoys reading, writing, and meditating, especially about mindfulness as discussed by Zen master, spiritual leader, and author Thich Nhat Hanh. (Photo credit: Jokie Tolentino)
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2 Responses to Pitahaya Harvest Moon Festival

  1. George Munoz says:

    Absolutely fabulous.


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