Friday, September 28, 2012

Moon Festival

Sunday marks the date of the Mid-Autumn or Moon Festival in China. The festival is held to honor the moon as well as the legend of Chang Er. One of the more popular versions of the story states that the earth once had ten suns circling over it, each taking its turn to illuminate the earth. One day, all ten suns appeared together, scorching the earth with their heat. The earth was saved by an archer, Hou Yi, who shot down nine of the suns. One day, Hou Yi stole the elixir of life from a goddess. In order to save the people from her husband's rule, his wife, Chang Er, drank the elixir of life. After drinking it, she began floating and flew to the moon. Hou Yi loved his wife so much, he refused to shoot down the moon.

Later, the Moon Festival would gain additional significance. During the Yuan dynasty, China was ruled by the Mongolian people. Leaders from the preceding Sung dynasty set out to coordinate a rebellion without it being discovered. The leaders of the rebellion, knowing that the Moon Festival was drawing near, ordered the making of special cakes. Baked into each moon cake was a message with the outline of the attack. On the night of the Moon Festival, the rebels successfully attacked and overthrew the government. What followed was the establishment of the Ming dynasty. 

Today, moon cakes are eaten to commemorate this legend and are given as gifts prior to the start of the Moon Festival. Traditional moon cakes are filled with red bean or lotus seed paste and often with the yolk of a salted duck egg.
 The moon cakes we received from our housing complex were filled with traditional red bean paste, similar to the filling of the qingtuan (I liked the moon cakes much better though).

 Snowball was also a fan

 Matt's company gifted us with a more modern take on the moon cake

 Can you guess which version I preferred?


  1. And then, don't you have to get Moon Cakes and give them to everyone you respect?

    1. You give them to people you respect as well as anyone you want to show thanks towards. We gave them to our tutor as well as our driver, both of whom seemed very humbled by the gesture.

  2. Oh, I always love the mooncake festivals! I have been trying to find something like that here in Dubai but to no avail! I hope we will have that here soon, just so yummy and delish!!!

    1. You may not have mooncakes but the food you do have looks amazing! Experiencing food and festivals in a new places is such a fun experience.


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