http://www.theage.com.au/world/chinas-mooncake-crackdown-20130918-2tyg5.html (Click this link: I can’t believe a mere traditional festival could initiate a bribery commotion!!)
Chinese is probably one of the races that has the most celebrations (to be honest). Most annual festivals are Chinese New year, qing-ming (Ancestor day), double-seventh (Chinese version of Valentine’s Day), Dragon-Boat festival, and Winter-solstice.
Tomorrow is Moon-cake festival (how exciting!!). It is also known as ‘The Mid-Autumn Festival’ (zhong-qiu-jie). According to the lunar calendar, this day falls on the 15th day of the 8th month (September or early October on Gregorian calendar).
Non-Chinese might wonder why the ‘cake’ is labelled associating with the Moon? On this day, the moon will be extremely round and the brightest full moon. Family and friends will gather outside, place the food around them and admire the moon while chit-chatting. It is indeed a splendid moment to be remember. Moon-cake is a must for such an important event. When you visit someone’s home, it is always nice to bring a box. I am not too sure what other Chinese have on their table besides Moon-cake but we usually have Pomelo, nuts, tea and taro (Since we are living in the modern era, I guess any food that goes well with the moon-cake and Chinese tea is suitable)
I did not know that Vietnamese celebrate this festival too until I visited Sydney’s Cabramatta (Vietnamese town) They have their own version of moon-cake and the traditional Hong Kong moon cake. I bet they have their own custom and practices as well.
When I was young, I used to ti-deng-long (holding the lantern). There are a wide ranges of patterns and designs. Children enjoy holding and walking around with the lantern. Unfortunately it was noticeable that these past few years, the traditional sight is long gone (People were holding iPhone and iPads -sigh~)
This festival is crucial for the moon-cake production business because it is the peak season to top their sales. Moon-cakes are becoming commercialized and packed in pretty boxes just so that they can up-market their products. The pretty snow-skin moon-cakes and strange/weird/modern flavours moon-cakes are casually found during this time of the year alongside with the traditional ones. It is undeniable that the small bakeries couldn’t afford to design and pack their moon-cakes as it requires large amount of funds to do so. However these small companies are quite popular because they much cheaper compared to commercialized moon-cakes. Even though the quality is not as good as the ‘branded’ ones, there is no harm trying.
My favourite flavours are the white lotus paste, pandan and green tea. (Because moon-cakes are heavy dessert, the tea helps to subtle down our taste buds- you can go for pu-er, tie-guan-ying, long-jing & MANY MORE…)
After the moon-cake festival, it is time to go on a diet because moon-cake aren’t the healthiest dessert (in fact they are packed with sugar and calories especially the ones with egg yoke) Egg yoke represents the full moon, therefore it is an auspicious thing to do (eating the egg yolk on this very meaningful day) I laugh to myself as I am probably one of the rare youngsters that enjoy the traditional festival aka family bonding day. This is my second year celebrating the festival without my close family. Wish them well, happy, healthy throughout the year and eat a lot of moon-cakes.
p/s: If you are interested in knowing how this day diffuse into the Chinese culture, Google about the origin/myth. (L.O.L)