Saturday, September 26, 2015

Culture Chat: Mid-Autumn Festival

Why am I posting pictures of mooncakes, you say? It's in the spirit of Mid-Autumn Festival this Sunday! The cultural festival is one of the main holidays celebrated in Taiwan, China, Vietnam, and by anyone of Chinese ethnicity. In Korea, it's the Chuseok holiday (Korean Thanksgiving). In mainland China, it's commonly known as the Moon Festival, because it's on the night of a full moon. The holiday is originated from tales of worshipping the moon, as people in the ancient times believed the moon and water brought rejuvenation. In the modern day, people keep the traditions alive by giving offerings to the moon and making mooncakes from scratch. Though traditions vary from family to family, the meaning of the holiday is simply about bringing people together and to celebrate a harmonious union. It's the Asian edition of Thanksgiving, as people give thanks for being with loved ones and wish good fortunes among family members.

Mooncakes are widely eaten during the festival season. They're round pastries with a sweet or savory center, and come in an assortment of flavors. In the picture above are tea mooncakes in the flavors of oolong, jasmine, Chinese dates, green tea, lotus bean, and chestnut. The custom is to cut the mooncakes into tiny pieces and share it among family members. This is related to the round shape of these pastries, which represent wholeness and unity. 

My family and I are naturally low-key when it comes to these cultural celebrations. We typically just buy the mooncakes and eat them together to celebrate the festival season. (We keep it super minimal). In fact, we just finished the box of mooncakes (pictured above) a few days ago. Though the mooncakes are oily and full of unhealthy fat, for something that's enjoyed once a year, it's worth it.

There goes my tiny bit of a culture chat! Now excuse me while my family and I debate whether we should buy a second box...

This year's Moon Festival falls on the the Supermoon Lunar Eclipse, which won't happen again until the year 2033. Will you be watching?


  1. Same here! My family and I usually just eat the mooncakes gifted to us and count that as celebrating hahaha.