Jom Belajar: Mooncake Festival
Mid-Autumn Festival, also known as Mooncake Festival, is held annually on the 15th day of the 8th month in the Chinese calendar. This year, Mid-Autumn Festival was on Thursday, October 1st – just in time for today’s installment of Jom Belajar, where we’ll learn all about the festival!
On this day, the Chinese believe that the moon is at its brightest and fullest size, coinciding with harvest time in the middle of Autumn. It is the second-most important Chinese holiday after Chinese New Year, with a history dating back 3,000 years, when China’s emperors worshipped the moon for bountiful harvests. The festival was a time to enjoy the successful harvest of rice and wheat with food offerings made in honor of the moon. Today, it is an occasion for a reunion among family and friends to share a meal and enjoy some delicious mooncakes. A notable part of celebrating the holiday is the carrying of brightly lit lanterns or releasing floating lanterns into the sky – a popular activity for both children and adults alike.
Making and sharing mooncakes is one of the hallmark traditions of this festival. As the quintessential delicacy of the festival, mooncakes are a dense pastry, traditionally made of lotus seed paste and salted duck egg yolk. Nowadays, one can find these creative confections in a wide range of flavors, including coffee, champagne, and truffles – there are snow-skin mooncakes, jelly mooncakes, ice cream mooncakes, and even mooncakes with less sugar for the health-conscious. A mooncake should be cut into small wedges and shared with family and friends – don’t be put off by the surprise egg yolk element inside, it pairs perfectly with the sweet filling. Mooncakes are sold with the option of one, two, three, or even four egg yolks, and for the less adventurous, you can opt for one without it.