The Mid-Autumn Festival is a festival celebrated by many people in the world. The mooncake festival is held on the 15th day of the 8th month of the lunar calendar with a full moon at night, corresponding to mid-September to early October of the Gregorian calendar.
The Mid-Autumn Festival in 2020 is held on 1st October. Families were enjoying the festival to catch the full moon. This year we celebrate this festival with some regulations because of the situation. The mid-autumn festival is the so-called mooncake festival. Countries in East Asia and Southeast Asia usually celebrate. The next mid-autumn festival in 2021 will be held on Tuesday, 21st September, based on the Gregorian calendar. In 2022, the mooncake festival will be held on Saturday, 10th September.
From where does the Mid-Autumn Festival come from?
One story goes that Chinese emperors in the Zhou dynasty (1045-221 BC) worshipped the moon in autumn to bring a bumper harvest the following year, while another story holds that the moon goddess Change overindulged on an elixir and flew to the moon with her jade rabbit companion.
The popularity of cult to the moon occurs. Many people write a poem related to the moon as admiration. The moon’s admiration placed a huge table at midnight below the light of the moon and brought the fruits and snacks up there. Nowadays, the mid-autumn festival is just known as the national holiday.
The common customs of the Mid-Autumn Festival Singapore include family members eating dinner together, just like a Thanksgiving dinner, sharing mooncakes, worshiping the moon with gifts, displaying lanterns, and regional activities.
Why do we eat mooncakes during the mid-autumn festival?
Why do we eat mooncakes during the mid-autumn festival?
In Chinese culture, roundness symbolizes completeness and togetherness. A full moon symbolizes prosperity and reunion for the whole family. So, people usually eat moon cake festival together with family, or present mooncakes to their relatives and friends, to express love and best wishes. Mooncakes are usually made of a rich paste filling surrounded by a thin crust. They are traditionally eaten while sipping tea and gazing upon the roundest, brightest moon of the year after a mid-Autumn family dinner.
The specialty from the moon cake is a stamp on the top of this cake. It is stamped by a mandarin letter, written “long life” in Latin script. Certainly, it means hope for those who eat it to have a long life. But on this day, people can modify it.
Other than the philosophy, moon cake has also had a history behind it. This happened during the Yuan dynasty when Mongolia has successfully dominated China. A farmer named Zhu Yuanzhang shared the news that there is an illness that can only be cured with the moon cake that he sells. Therefore, many people buy his moon cake. Chinese who buy it will get a secret message to participate in overthrowing the Mongol empire. This movement happens in the middle of autumn.
The way to make moon cake is easy; you only need to use flour, alkaline water, yolk, and golden syrup mixed up for making the skin or the cake. For the fill, you can use a salted yolk, red bean, or green bean. After the filling is put in the skin, mold the cake using mooncake mold. Bake it until 10 minutes and apply the yolk wash before you bake it again. It is a simple recipe to make mooncake. Traditionally, the skin of the mooncake is made by lard.
Mooncake has a few kinds, it difference wit the fill inside the cake and the shape, here below a few kinds of mooncake:
1. Lian rong
This mooncake is filled up with lotus seed paste. This is the most expensive kind of mooncake.
2. Dou sha
This kind is filled with sweet bean paste. Yet, it is a black bean or red bean.
3. Jujube paste
This mooncake tastes sweet because it is filled with jujube plants. The jujube paste is dark. This kind is not too popular.
4. Five kernels
This kind is filled up with five different beans.
This mooncake skin area made like pastry.
6. Salted yolk
This mooncake filled up with salted yolk. When you crack it, the redness of the yolk will be seen.
7. Modern mooncake
Many people modify this kind. It is filled with chicken floss, cheese, ice cream, and many more.
In September 2013, the Shanghai Marriot Hotel team successfully made a giant mooncake. The weights up to 2,496,6 kg. that mooncake eaten by many people in the town.
Why do people display lanterns?
As ubiquitous as the mooncake, lanterns have been associated with the festival since the Tang dynasty, possibly because of their traditional fertility symbolization. The lanterns also serve a practical purpose of lighting how friends and family stay up to appreciate the full moon late into the night.
On the outside of the lanterns commonly written down in a mandarin letter. It is the inscription “happiness.” Chinese hope for the coming of happiness and can forgive and forget the bad luck that happens before.
So, how do you and your family celebrate the mid-autumn festival 2020?
Foods and Games at the Mid-Autumn Festival
1. Besides mooncakes, many kinds of fruits must be an obligor dish on a huge table. The fruits that must exist are pear, grape, watermelon, pome, and much more fruit.
Pumpkin is also a must have food in the mid-autumn festival. If the moon cake is too expensive to buy, someone replaces it with a pumpkin. Pumpkin is believed to bring health. It is besides folks about one needy family in the south mount.
3. Taro, one of the obligatory dishes at this festival. It is believed can bring a rich and good fate, which means misfortune will go if you eat taro at the festival.
4. The meal at the festival can be filled with river snails. River snails are reserved with traditional herbs to eliminate the stench of the snail.
5. Wine with osmanthus flavor. When autumn comes, the osmanthus flower starts to bloom, it has a long history in Tiong Hoa. Chinese started dranks this wine more than 2000 years ago. This wine symbolizes a happy life. Other than that, drinking wine in autumn is suitable for the weather.
Duck, the protein on the festival dish. Any process could cook the duck. In Jiangsu, they marinate duck with salt and osmanthus, and they roast it out. It is a must dish at the mooncake festival. It tastes unique with the duck’s crunchy skin, and the meat is not fatty but soft when you bite it.
7. Shanghai Crabs. In Shanghai, this dish is a must in the mid-autumn festival on Thanksgiving dinner. Shanghai crabs are starting to exist in September and October.
8. Sticky rice, in a traditional cult, people make a fist of sticky rice. It symbolized togetherness and closeness in the family.
It will be better to celebrate the mid-autumn festival if we cook our dish rather than go to a restaurant. We can spend the night without going out because of holiday traffic jams on the road. Other than that, the devout when we are worshipping the moon will be more intense.
It, not just a food should exist in the mid-autumn festival; there is things or games to do like:
There is a game called Bo Bing. This is a unique game at this festival. Bo Bing uses six dice in a bowl with five to ten people on the table. The players need to roll the dice to get lucky. Someone who gets the top rank believed could enjoy a year full of luck, but there is a grand prize. The winner should roll to get four red and two red.
The chopstick game is one of the games which can be played at the mid-autumn festival. The participants need to put various nuts into the bowl using a chopstick with time ruled.
Activities of Mid-Autumn Festival
Mid-autumn festival is so-called as mooncake festival, the obligatory of this festival, of course, eating mooncake. The Chinese usually eat mooncakes with their family at midnight, but they share mooncakes with a neighbor or other family to enjoy the mooncake. It would be a closer relationship, not only between family or neighbor but from the company of their worker.
The way to celebrate this festival is by making a thanksgiving dinner. We ate several foods that were made special for the festival to accomplish thanks to the moon goddess for giving us through such autumn. Chinese families would find the right place to perform dinner while looking at the full moon like rooftop, balcony, riverside, etc.
For the kids, usually Chinese families make lanterns. Lanterns are made in any shape, and it could be animals, plants, flowers, and many more. Since the shape is ready, we can color it or paint it for pretty looks. The lanterns could be hanging on the tree or in front of the house, or maybe it can float on the river. People also make Kongming lanterns that use burn candles to fly it out in the air. The kids can write their hopes on the lanterns before flying them out.
In a modern way, the mooncake festival is a national holiday. Thus we can spare time for a few days. We can go to the village to meet our big family to do those mid-autumn festival activities. Other than that, for teens, we can haunt for a discount at the shopping center or online shop. When the mooncake festival comes, shopping centers celebrate with a lottery using the bills to win mooncake with premium quality. For those who do not even have a holiday plan, watching a movie is always be a good idea to do with a partner or family after thanksgiving dinner or a haunting discount.
The entertaining activity in the mid-autumn festival is the dragon dance. We can go to a place which held a dragon dance performance and watch it hilariously. Dragon dances are held to cheer up and bring joy to a festival. The most front dancer will nod and wag the dragon’s head as a part of the dance. Sometimes the head of the dragon emits smoke using pyrotechnic equipment.
In addition to worshiping the moon, the Chinese also light the candles that shaped the lotus and take it off to the river while praying for a good life and fortune.
Starting of mid-Autumn Festival
A good time to come to China is in autumn. Why autumn? The view of autumn is very charming. The leaves color redness on the road. With the warm air, this season is suitable to hike the China wall.
Some universities that accept students from other countries presented a huge table with so much mooncake and fruits up there (even other festival food). That was presented for the students to celebrate the mid-autumn festival together. So this festival is not celebrated and enjoyed by native Chinese, but also by immigrants.
The bloom of osmanthus is a sign that autumn comes. Osmanthus smells like pear or peace. Osmanthus is 80% planted in south Tiongkok. This is why this flower often used to be seasoning in the mooncake festival dish. More so, the wine for the festival contains the osmanthus. Many chefs make this flower into many unique dishes like jam, dumplings, cake, and oolong tea.
Osmanthus has so many benefits for the body. Osmanthus believed it could suppress the appetite so that many people use this flower as a mixture with a diet to lose weight—Meanwhile, people with high blood pressure. The osmanthus contains B3 vitamins; it is good to thin the blood. Tea that contains osmanthus is also good for relaxing. It means we could reduce insomnia and stress so that we avoid a decrease in brain function. In east Asia, osmanthus is widely used as skincare contains. This is because osmanthus itself contains niacinamide.