The last couple of weeks have been a lead up to the Mid-Autumn Festival.
The Mid-Autumn Festival is also called Moon Festival, Mooncake Festival or Lantern Festival. But the best description is “Chinese Thanksgiving”. The Chinese and Vietnamese celebrate it at the traditional end of their harvest, the 15th day of the eighth month in the lunar calendar. Since 2008, the Government of the People’s Republic of China declared the Mid-Autumn Festival a public holiday.
One of the icons of the festival is the moon cake. These are round or rectangular pastries, measuring about 10 cm in diameter and 4–5 cm thick. A rich thick filling usually made from red bean or lotus seed paste is surrounded by a thin (2–3 mm) crust.
Everywhere you could find these Moon-Cakes (in the Supermarket, in shops and even on the streets).
Because moon cakes are so prolific and popular, I decided I must give them a try. But I learned the taste of these cakes varies. Some are sweet and some are savoury. Some are even made with egg yolks! Most are made with fruits and nuts.
Moon cakes are traditionally given as a gift to family members, business partners and friends. I didn’t have to wait long until I got to try my first moon cake after a box was gifted during a business meeting.
While there are many different types, from my first bite it struck me as an acquired taste.
Normally moon cakes are shared by family and friends the night of the Mid-Autumn Festival. People sit together outside in the parks or at the beach, observing the full moon. There is always a full moon the night of the Mid-Autumn Festival.
So Thursday night we went out for a stroll along Zhuhai beach. Dozens of families were having picnics on the beach. Luckily it was a clear night so the full moon was in full view and it seemed the entire population of Zhuhai was out enjoying it.
Another perk of this festival was that we all had three days off work. The downside was that we all had to work on Sunday. This was all a part of experiencing this holiday in China.
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