The Mid-Autumn Festival is one of the most important festivals in China. According to the Chinese lunar calendar, the 15th day of the 8th month is the exact middle of autumn, hence it is called the Mid-Autumn Festival. It is an evening celebration when families gather together to light lanterns, eat moon cakes and appreciate the round moon.
People in different parts of China have different ways to celebrate the festival. But one traditional custom is definitely shared by all the Chinese -- eating moon cakes.
Moon cakes are round pastries shaped like the moon, about an inch in height. Inside, they are filled with lotus seeds, red bean paste, orange peel, melon seeds, ham, dried flower petals, and salted duck's egg yolk. The surface of the food is patterned with clouds, the moon, and the rabbit.
It symbolizes the reunions of families and couples. The exchanging of gifts during the mid-autumn festival is a hospitable custom and lovers also give moon cakes as presents to show their passion.
Nowadays, moon cakes with their various flavors and delicate packaging actually have become a kind of artwork. People can also get artistic pleasure while enjoying the food.
Story of the Moon Cake
There is a story about the moon cake. During the Yuan Dynasty (1280-1368) China was ruled by the Mongolians. Officials from the preceding Song Dynasty (960-1280) were unhappy at submitting to foreign rule, and set to organize a rebellion. The leaders of the rebellion, as the Mid-Autumn Festival was drawing near, ordered the making of special cakes. In each moon cake was a message with the outline of the uprising. On the night of the Festival, the rebels successfully attacked and overthrew the government. What followed was the establishment of the Ming Dynasty (1368-1644). Since then, moon cakes became a festive specialty during the Mid-Autumn Festival.
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