The Mooncake Festival or Lantern Festival or Mid-Autumn Festival, call it what you will – is a celebration of unity. This festival is believed to have originated from the ancient ceremony of Sacrificing to the Moon Goddess for the year’s end harvest. This is when families return to celebrate and give thanks for the year’s bounty. Offerings of their harvest such as apples, pears, peaches, grapes, pomegranates, melons, oranges and pomelos were common. Other offerings cooked, baked etc included moon cakes, cooked taro, and water caltrope, a type of water chestnut resembling black buffalo horns. And of course, ‘tang yuen’ made from glutinous rice. ‘Yuen’ means ’round’ which symbolize “completeness” as in “yuen man” of the cycle. Thus, it means unity and harmony within the family.
Today, the Mooncake festival to many signifies not much really …perhaps a chance to savour these extremely sweet cakes and to send them to relatives,families, bosses, customers, friends etc as gifts of unity. Shame that we no longer understand the core of these festivals… getting lost in translation most times and other times it’s no longer a belief and then tradition ends. And like durians… mooncakes can be bought all year round now..
Had any one be able to see the big and beautiful round moon last night? I did see it but is blur but manage to make a wish,lol
Water caltrop looks exactly like a bull’s horn. I think a bull has connotation to mid-autumn festival because of the myth related to the moon fairy. Therefore, this little black thing is much favoured as one of the special foods for mooncake festival.
Baby taros or baby yams are also a popular item during this festival. These are cooked in boiling water or steamed with their skins still intact. It doesn’t take long to cook them, about 10-15 mins will do. Once cooked the skin can be easily peeled off and the taros can be eaten just plain. Very nutritious too!