Saturday, September 22, 2007

Mid-Autumn Festival (中秋节) = Moon Cake Festival?

The coming Tuesday (25 Sept 2007) is the mid-autumn festival in China, and some other Asian countries such as Singapore & Malaysia. In Chinese, it is call 中秋节, which means it is a festival on the 15th day of the 8th month in the lunar calendar, right in the middle of Autumn, so the English translation of Mid-Autumn Festival is correct & precise. However, in South East Asian countries, such as Singapore, many of those other-language educated people tend to refer to this festival as the MOONCAKE festival. All they know is you must eat moon cake. As a matter of fact, Mid-Autumn festival came thousands of years ahead of the tradition of eating mooncake on this special day.

Mid-Autumn festival came into being 3000 years ago during the Zhou Dynasty. You can read the details here:

Eating mooncakes only became a tradition for this festival after Zhu Yuan-Zhang (朱元璋)founded his Ming Dynasty. It is said that Zhu planted a revolt againt the Yuan Dynasty. To keep the communication secret, they hid the messages in the mooncakes. After Zhu became the 1st emperor of his Ming Dynasty, he gave his ministers & subjects mooncakes as a token of appreciation. Ever since, eating mooncake became a tradition.

Well, let's cut the history part short, but keep the eating part long :) In the past, there were only limited variations of mooncakes. Usually the pastry is made from lotus seeds; and only one type of mooncakes skin. With less and less modern people care about tradition, the mooncake manufacturers have to come up with new ideas to attract both the young and old customers. First there were mooncakes with one egg yoke, then two. And then they change the recipe to have "snow skin" mooncakes, with many many different favours such as durian, green tea, custard, yam, etc. I personally favour the snow-skin over traditional mooncakes.

A recipe for snow skin mooncake can be found here:

No harm giving it a try. There are many other food/fruits for you to eat in the celebration of Mid-Autumn festival, but I will just stop here, as I am getting a bit hungry just by writing all these stuff ;P

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