Growing up in a Chinese household, one very important holiday that my family celebrates together is the Mid-Autumn Festival. Symbolically it celebrates the end of the summer harvesting season on this date and is a day to bring family together. Usually held on the 15th day of the eighth month in the Chinese Calendar which in my recent memory has always been around mid October. It is a date that parallels the autumn and spring Equinoxes of the solar calendar when the moon is the fullest and roundest.
My family would get together to admire the gorgeous bright moon and eat moon cake. When growing up, I would bring home Chinese paper lanterns and decorate my house with them and we would recount an old Chinese myth of the fateful night when Chang'e was lifted up to the moon and if you look closely you can see her there!
Now what are these moon cakes I am talking about? They are these delicious pasteries offered to friends and family during this time period. Usually sold in pairs or a box of 4 and are typically round or rectangular in shape with a delicious thin crust that is moist filled with a sweet and sticky lotus seed paste. Some contain yolks of salted duck egg (mmm, my favourite) and I usually can only eat as much as a half because of their thickness and richness!
There is folklore about how the mooncake helped overthrow the Mongrol rule as they were used to smuggle messages between Ming dynasty revouluntaries. This is what the 'egg yolk' symbolizes in the cake.
Happy Autumn mooning!
By Jacqueline Vong at 4:33 AM