Last Friday was the Chinese Holiday Zhong Qiu Jie or the Mid Autumn Moon Festival. Mid Autumn Festival is a Chinese holiday equivalent to Thankgiving. Like Thanksgiving, it’s a celebration of the summer harvest and families get together for a large meal. Traditionally it was a time for farmers to drink, eat and admire the full moon. These days, it’s common to have BBQs (yes!) drink wine, light up latterns and eat Moon Cakes.
The Festival falls on the 15th day of the lunar month 8 in many East Asian lunisolar calendars (usually around mid- or late-September in the Gregorian Calendar), a full moon day that occurs around the time of the Autumn Equinox. At this time, the moon is at its fullest and brightest, marking an ideal time to celebrate the abundance of the summer’s harvest. The traditional food of this festival is the moon cake, of which there are many different varieties. The Yue Bing or Moon Cake is traditionally eaten during this holiday – it’s a pastry that is filled with a variety of fillings including Lotus Seed Paste, Red Bean Paste, JuJuBe (fruit). Often times, a salted egg yolk which symbolizes the full moon is baked into these cakes. The saltiness of the egg yolk is a great complement to the sweet filling.
I got some mini moon cakes today at a local bakery in Chinatown. (Prices of these moon cakes dramatically goes down a few days after the holiday). Here I have Lotus Seed and Red Bean Paste – both sweet fillings. Fun Times.