The Chinese Moon Festival is on the 15th of the 8th lunar month. It’s also known as the Mid-autumn Festival. Chinese culture is deeply embedded in traditional festivals. Just like Christmas and Thanksgiving in the West, the Moon Festival is one of the most important traditional events for the Chinese.
The Moon Festival is full of legendary stories. Legend says that Chang Er flew to the moon, where she has lived ever since. You might see her dancing on the moon during the Moon Festival. The Moon Festival is also an occasion for family reunions. When the full moon rises, families get together to watch the full moon, eat moon cakes, and sing moon poems. With the full moon, the legend, the family and the poems, you can’t help thinking that this is really a perfect world. That is why the Chinese are so fond of the Moon Festival.
The Moon Festival is also a romantic one. A perfect night for the festival is if it is a quiet night without a silk of cloud and with a little mild breeze from the sea. Lovers spend such a romantic night together tasting the delicious moon cake with some wine while watching the full moon. Even for a couple who can’t be together, they can still enjoy the night by watching the moon at the same time so it seems that they are together at that hour. A great number of poetry has been devoted to this romantic festival. Hope the Moon Festival will bring you happiness. The moon cake is the food for the Moon Festival. The Chinese eat the moon cake at night with the full moon in the sky.
Another legend tells the children the story of the moon fairy living in a crystal palace, which comes out to dance on the moon’s shadowed surface. The legend surrounding the “lady living in the moon” dates back to ancient times, to a day when ten suns appeared at once in the sky. The Emperor ordered a famous archer to shoot down the nine extra suns. Once the task was accomplished, Goddess of Western Heaven rewarded the archer with a pill that would make him immortal. However, his wife found the pill, took it, and was banished to the moon as a result. The legend says that her beauty is greatest on the day of the Moon festival.
Today, Chinese people celebrate the Mid-Autumn festival with dances, feasting and moon gazing. Not to mention moon cakes. While baked goods are common feature at most Chinese celebrations, moon cakes are inextricably linked with the Moon festival. More elaborate versions of moon cakes contain four egg yolks (representing the four phases of the moon). Besides lotus seed paste, other traditional fillings include red bean paste and black bean paste. Unfortunately for dieters, moon cakes are rather high in calories.
While in the past moon cakes took up to four weeks to make, automation has speeded up the process considerably. Today, moon cakes may be filled with everything from dates, nuts, and fruit to Chinese sausages. More exotic creations include green tea moon cakes, and ping Pei or snow skin moon cakes, a Southeast Asian variation made with cooked glutinous rice. Given the difficulty of making them, most people prefer to purchase their moon cakes instead of making them. You’ll find them at Asian bakeries beginning around mid-August.