Friday, 9 September 2011

Chinese Mid-Autumn Moon Festival

There's a full moon on Monday, September 12. That is also the date of the Chinese Moon Festival - sometimes called the Lantern Festival or Mid-Autumn Festival. It always takes place at the full moon on the 15th day of the eighth Chinese lunar month.

The Moon Festival dates back more than 3,000 years, to a time when the Chinese believed that the moon was the home of a beautiful goddess. The moon was also associated with femininity and with fairies.

According to Chinese Feasts and Festivals: A Cookbook,by S C Moey: "Rigorous and long-standing observation found the moon to be at its most exquisite in mid-autumn," so the Emperor inaugurated a feast followed by a night of lunar contemplation.

These days the Chinese have a public holiday for the festival and this year it lasts for three days, from September 10 to September 12. It is still a time for feasting, celebrating and honouring the moon.

The traditional food for mid-autumn festival is the mooncake and, for this reason, the festival is sometimes referred to as the Mooncake Festival.

Mooncakes are often filled with lotus seed paste or bean paste. Some traditionally contain salted egg yolks, which are round like the moon, but are apparently something of an acquired taste. If you want to have a go at making mooncakes, here are links to a couple of recipes - with and without salted egg yolks:

1 comment:

Heloise said...

Cool! Didn't know, will be nice to celebrate this coming Full Moon then :)