Mooncake Festival or Mid-Autumn Festival is a beautiful tradition which was honoured by great emperors and passed down to generations with a festive thanksgiving gathering, praying, and giving mooncakes that signify the completeness and unity of the families. The festival is celebrated on the 15th day of 8th month in the lunar calendar – with full moon at night. The mooncake is a traditional pastry of the Mooncake Festival to commemorates the lunar goddess in thanksgiving for the bountiful harvest.
Mooncake Festival is celebrated by the Chinese over the years. It is a legend where there was an excellent archer named Hou Yi, and he has a beautiful named Chang’e. God admired Yi’s talent and sent him the elixir of immortality but Yi did not want to leave his wife, Chang’e, that he let her kept the elixir. However, his apprentice, Peng Meng, who later knew the secret, betrayed him. He broke into the house and forced Chang’e to give the elixir. However, Chang’e refused and she later drank it just to save her husband. She flew to the moon for it is the nearest place to go where she can see her husband. Hou Yi was really sad after he learnt about it, and he offered the cakes that Chang’e likes so much in the yard and offered sacrifices to his wife. Soon, people started to follow his activities as they were also sympathetic to Chang’e.
Mooncake Festival has been celebrated in many different ways for many years, but the main delicacy for the festival is mooncake. The mooncake became a traditional gift for the friends and families during Mooncake Festival. The mooncakes are designed to be round in shape as it symbolizes completeness and reunion. The Cantonese-style mooncakes are currently the most popular mooncakes all over the world because the skin is thin with lots of filling inside.
Mooncakes are decorated with many different yet pretty patterns such as peaches, carp, lotus, and people. The most commonly used patterns are animals and flowers in which these patterns are often combined with other motifs related to Chinese cultures such as the zodiac signs, good luck, and Chang’e flight to the moon. There are some Chinese words expressing prayer such as ‘Lu’, ‘Fu’, ‘Shou’, and ‘Xi’. If you’re looking for different types of mooncakes, you can always look for Beijing-style, Yunnan-style, and Suzhou-style mooncakes. You can easily differentiate them through their skin.
What’s the meaning of having lantern during Mooncake Festival? The lantern has the same meaning as the Mooncake as it symbolizes the reunion in the Mid-Autumn Festival. It is notably part of celebrating the festivity by carrying the brightly lit lanterns, or floating sky lanterns. The mooncake was originally used as offering to the goddess of the moon but later people gradually began to appreciate and eat the moonckaes in the Mooncake Festival as it is a symbol of family reunion. In fact, the Mainland China listed this festival as an ‘intangible cultural heritage’ in 2006 and a public holiday in 2008.
The mooncake is traditionally cut into pieces that equal the number of people in the family. It is really hard to resist with its rich thick filling made from lotus seed paste surrounded by a thin crust and many contain yolks from salted duck eggs. As one of the most important tradition among the Chinese, this festivity reminds people to send their friends and families a message to show how they are important in their life, and how they are loved.