Mid-Autumn Festival is one of the major Chinese festivals popularly celebrated. In Malaysia and Singapore, it is also referred to as Mooncake Festival.
Mid-Autumn Festival falls on the 15th day of the 8th lunar month of the Chinese calendar. In Gregorian calendar, it is on today.
On this day, the moon is in its fullest shape. The occasion, therefore, signifies reunion in the Chinese culture.
This traditional essence is reflected in mooncakes which are mostly round-shaped.
As for the traditional observance of taking mooncakes during the festival, a widespread folk tale has it that in the 14th century, there was an uprising in Chinese against Mongol rulers of the Yuan Dynasty.
It follows that a rebellion was mooted and Liu Bowen, the leader, and Zhu Yuanzhang, the advisor, planned to coincide the timing with the Mid-Autumn Fesrival.
They worked out a strategy to seek permission to give away to the Chinese residents in the city cakes stuffed with a written message: Rise up and kill the Mongols on the 15th day of the 8th lunar month.
The rebellion worked as planned and they successfully overthrew the government of Mongols. Thereafter, Ming Dynasty with Zhu Yuanzhang as the helm of the state was established.
Therefore, celebrating Mid-Autumn Festival with mooncakes is in commemoration of the uprising of the Chinese against the Mongol rulers.
In modern days, mooncakes come in a wide variety with innovations to suit the trend of the present age.
During my childhood days, mooncakes were much more monotonous. The age has really revolutionised the mooncake recipes, incorporating such factors as health and subtle tastes.
We have savoured a few varieties of mooncakes this year, all are of superb quality. My memories start to flow back to my younger days when it was such a fun having the family together savouring the mooncakes.