Back in the 80s, mid-autumn nights were especially special. When the sun sets, we gladly welcomed the night as it heralded the lantern sessions. Our toys of choice were either the multi-colured foldable paper lanterns or plastic wire framed character lanterns that we took out once a year from the back cupboard. Of course, we had to be sure that we were well stocked up with candles and a short stick or two to hold our lanterns. Then it was time to round up the troops. These usually made up of our old neighbours Patrick, Pauline and Steven. This was one of the rare nights that we were granted the license to roam the neighbourhood streets instead of hitting our books.
So with lantern in hand, we would prowl the few Lorongs (lanes) that made up our Taman (housing estate). This was not a boring walk in the dark. To us kids, the estate was a giant playground with endless possibilities of fun. There were pit stops to be made along the way; usually to pay a visit to homes of friends or school mates which dotted the Taman. Our reward would be an offer of a drink or some snacks. There were also houses of teachers to peep in, enemies to confront, dogs to avoid, and crazy antics like shouting a persons name and running off (a particular house in Taman Sri Maharani was often the target). We would also sometimes play hide and seek, splitting into two groups and trying to find or avoid each other.
Ahhh… miss those simple times. Who would have thought a lighted lantern would bring so much joy and leave so many fond memories. Can’t wait till my daughter is old enough to walk around the neighbourhood with her own lantern.
Till then, Happy Mid-Autumn…