Happy Mid-Autumn Festival! 中秋节快乐!

Popularly coined as The Lantern Festival, Mid-Autumn Festival 中秋节 should not be confused with Yuan Xiao Jie 元宵节 also known as The Lantern Festival, which marks the end of Chinese New Year celebrations.

Mid-Autumn Festival (zhōng qiu jié, 中秋節) a.k.a. Mooncake Festival, falls on 8th September this year. Coinciding with the autumn equinox, this official harvest festival is celebrated not only in China (since the Shang Dynasty) but also among the Chinese community across Asia. Because this important Chinese festival is held on the 15th day of the eighth month in the Lunar calendar, during a full moon, it is also known as Moon Festival (八月节, literally 8th month festival). Mooncakes (yuè bing, 月餅) are a must-have for the celebration and hence it is also called Mooncake Festival!

The Mooncake Festival celebrates 3 underlying notions which are closely tied to one another as in the following…

Gathering – such as family and friends coming together, or the harvesting of agricultural crops.

Thanksgiving – to give thanks for the fruitful harvest as well as for for harmonious unions.

Praying – asking for conceptual or material satisfaction, such as for babies, a spouse, beauty, longevity, or for a bright future.

Traditions and myths surrounding the festival are formed around these three concepts, although traditions have changed over time due to changes in technology, science, economy, culture, and religion. – Wikipedia

Mooncakes

People don’t usually buy mooncakes for themselves but to give their friends and relatives as presents.
The exchange of mooncakes are done well in advance of the Mid Autumn festival.
Hence, mooncakes are sold in elegant boxes for presentation purpose.

Mooncakes

Mooncakes are typically round or square, measuring at 4 inches in diameter and 2 inches thick.
Traditional mooncakes, as seen in picture above, are baked. They have artfully decorated soft, thin crust covering a sweet, rich filling, varying in flavours from the usual white lotus seed paste, red bean paste, five kernels (Hainanese), and often with one or more (up to 4 ) salted egg yolks in the center.
Modern flavours are made with Snow Skin (ping pi – 冰皮) infused with aromatics from fruits, edible flowers, tea infusions and even champagne with lotus paste filings and chocolate truffles instead of salted egg yolks. Some famous western ice parlours are selling chocolate-shell mooncakes with ice cream fillings, too!

Mooncakes

Making and sharing mooncakes is one of the hallmark traditions of this festival.
In Chinese culture, a round shape symbolizes completeness and unity. Thus, the sharing of round mooncakes among family members signify the completeness and unity of families.

Mooncakes

Most families stay at home for a “reunion” dinner and eat mooncakes afterwards. Young children will carry lanterns while the adults enjoy mooncakes, together with some pomelo and Chinese tea.
This year, my dad cooked us Mid-Autumn reunion lunch a day ahead, on Sunday instead of Monday, knowing that my children have to go to work.
*Background painting by my children.

Mooncakes

Royal China @ Raffles Hotel may serve some decent dim sum but their mooncakes did not quite make it on par.

The mooncake skin was thin (good), salted egg yolk was dry (no good) and although I am not a big fan of sugar, I felt that the lotus seed paste could be sweeter. There was too little pumpkin seeds to give the paste interesting texture.

The gift box baptised ostentation but if you looked closely at the second photo in this post, you could see that I had the help of a toothpick (on right) to keep it open. Construction failure is not good at all!

Royal China
Address: 1 Beach Road, #03-09,
Raffles Hotel
Tel: (+65) 6338 3363

Happy Mid-Autumn Festival! 中秋节快乐!

Click on links below to see other variations of mooncakes and the myths & stories surrounding this festival:
Mid-Autumn Festival 中秋節
Race Me To The Moon

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Comments
3 Responses to “Happy Mid-Autumn Festival! 中秋节快乐!”
  1. daniellajoe says:

    It’s a nice tradition and festival they look yummy

  2. Lanterns, good idea, need to decorate for the fall season
    and lights do well as the days become shortened.
    Really, who needs another excuse to eat more …
    Love, hugs and many more festivals … ME and the Boss

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