Growing up, I have never been much of a person into celebrating the different festivals. Raised in a multi-racial society in Malaysia, there is more than fair share of festivals let alone the Chinese festivals that my family celebrate. In these occasions, I would do the necessary like come home early for family dinners, and eat whatever get served which are usually loads of goodies.
Now that I am here in USA, I kinda miss all these festivals that I have taken for granted since it was always there. This week is the Mid-Autumn Festival, also known as the Moon Cake Festival or Zhongqiu Festival (traditional Chinese: 中秋節)
The Mid-Autumn Festival is held on the 15th day of the eighth month in the Chinese calendar, which is in September or early October. Traditionally on this day, Chinese family members and friends will gather to admire the bright mid-autumn harvest moon, and eat moon cakes and pomelos under the moon together.
In Malaysia, we will also carry brightly lit lanterns around the neighbourhood which I think is primarily targetted to keep kids entertained.
This year, my first celebration in USA, I am glad to have our friend Mr and Mrs Ming who gave us a box of mooncake - lotus paste with double egg yolks!! It is made in USA but it taste pretty much the same with the ones back home. Hooray!!
Yesterday night, I cooked a nice Chinese dinner (translates to "a little bit more elaborate" than usual fare) for hubby and myself just so to indicate I am doing my part to celebrate the event.
And then we enjoyed the mooncake with a cup of Chinese tea. It does bring back memories of home far-away.
Have a great celebration to those who are celebrating!!
I did a search for details of the origins of this festival and this one from wikipedia is the closest story to what I grew up knowing.
Overthrow of Mongol rule
According to a widespread folk tale (not necessarily supported by historical records), the Mid-Autumn Festival commemorates an uprising in China against the Mongol rulers of the Yuan Dynasty (1280–1368) in the 14th century. As group gatherings were banned, it was impossible to make plans for a rebellion. Noting that the Mongols did not eat mooncakes, Liu Bowen (劉伯溫) of Zhejiang Province, advisor to the Chinese rebel leader Zhu Yuanzhang, came up with the idea of timing the rebellion to coincide with the Mid-Autumn Festival. He sought permission to distribute thousands of moon cakes to the Chinese residents in the city to bless the longevity of the Mongol emperor. Inside each cake, however, was inserted a piece of paper with the message: "Kill the Mongols on the 15th day of the 8th month" (traditional Chinese: 八月十五殺韃子; simplified Chinese: 八月十五杀鞑子). On the night of the Moon Festival, the rebels successfully attacked and overthrew the government. What followed was the establishment of the Ming Dynasty (1368–1644), under Zhu. Henceforth, the Mid-Autumn Festival was celebrated with moon cakes on a national level.