Mooncake Festival 2013
Celebrate Mid Autumn Mooncake Festival 2013
The Mid Autumn Festival goes by other names including the Chinese Lantern Festival and the Mooncake Festival. It dates back to over 3,000 years to a time when China’s Shang Dynasty were moon worshipers. At that time it was called Zhongqiu or Mid Autumn Festival during the Zhou Dynasty. In Singapore, the Philippines and Malaysia it is also called the Mooncake Festival as well as the Lantern Festival.
Even though the mooncakes vary in different countries, they are still the traditional food for this festival. The Mid Autumn Festival is on the 15th day of the eighth month according to the Chinese lunar calendar, which is usually during late September or early October.
When is Mid Autumn Mooncake Festival 2013 ?
The Mid Autumn Mooncake Festival for 2013 will be held on Thursday, September 19th., but in Hong Kong the holiday is celebrated on the following day after the festival, which will be on Friday, September 20th.
Mid Autumn / Lantern Festival / Mooncake Festival 2013
These wonderful little mooncakes are Chinese pastries that are usually eaten during the Lantern Festival and are either rectangular or round and measure about 10 cm and 4 to 5 cm thick. These small little wedges are usually eaten with Chinese tea. They consist of a sweet, dense filling surrounded by a thin tender skin and contain a whole salted egg yolk to symbolize the full moon. Sometimes they will be served fried or steamed with a thick filling made from lotus seed paste, a whole salted duck egg surrounded by the same thin tender skin.
A traditional mooncake will have the imprint of the Chinese characters meaning “harmony” or “longevity” and on the other side they may have the filling and the name of the bakery. As an extra decoration, the mooncakes may also have the imprints of vines, rabbits, the Chang’e woman or flowers. Because they are considered a delicacy and labor intensive, not very many people make them at home, they are usually bought at bakeries or at the market.
Mooncake Festival 2013 Around The World
The Mid Autumn Moon Festival is a legal public holiday in Hong Kong, Macau, China and Taiwan is known also in China as Zhongqiujie and is celebrated by Chinese descendants worldwide. The Moon Festival is celebrated also in Singapore, Vietnam, Malaysia, Philippines, Indonesia and Japan and will be sometimes called Zhongqiu Festival.
Mid Autumn Mooncake Festival 2013 in China ( Zhong Qiu Jie )
The good and bad parts of life, according to the Chinese, have always been linked to the changes of the moon. Since the full moon is round, it symbolizes reunion, which has created the Festival of Reunion in China. This reunion festival is a special day in which family members try to get together while those who cannot be at home with the family will watch the full moon and long for their loved ones. This festival usually happens during the major holiday of the Mid-Autumn Festival in China and brings with it many activities like public performances. When the reunion dinner is finished, families go to parks and scenic spots to sit and appreciate the moon by eating pomelos and mooncakes while praying for a safe year.
Every part of China has a different way of celebrating the Mid-Autumn | Mooncake Festival 2013 such as making fires inside towers as a symbol of good business. Watching the flood tide of the Qiantang River in the Zhejiang Province is not only a must see for the locals but also for people in other parts during the Mid-Autumn Festival. Duck combined with sweet scented Osmanthus is believed to be a symbol of peace by the people of Nanjing and a huge lantern show in Guangzhou, is a huge attraction for both visitors and locals to see all the thousands of lantern all with different shapes and sizes and all lit to form an interesting contrast against the bright moonlight. The taro harvest happens at the same time as the Mid-Autumn festival so the people of Chaozhou, Guangdong Province eat the taro as a way to celebrate the festival and pray for a good taro harvest the next year.
Zhong Qiu Jie / Mid-Autumn / Mooncake Festival 2013 In Hong Kong
Mid Autumn bring with it the biggest and brightest moon of the year and in Hong Kong, it also brings the Chinese Mid-Autumn Festival and is a very colorful yearly event that also celebrates harvest time. The Mid-Autumn Festival is the only one where the parents will allow their children to stay up late to go to The Peak and light the lanterns while watching the full moon rise and eating their mooncakes. All public parks are lit up with thousands of lanterns of all sizes, shapes and colors and there is even a lantern carnival with lantern exhibitions everywhere in Hong Kong.
The Mid-Autumn festival consist of three nights and during those three nights you will be witness to the incredible sight of a 67 meter long “Fire Dragon” that will wind its way with lots of smoke and fanfare through the streets of Tai Hang, which is close to Victoria Park in Causeway Bay. Tai Hang was a coastal village one hundred years ago whose natives lived by fishing and farming. Less than a week before their Mid-Autumn Festival a typhoon hit and then a plague hit the village and while they were picking up the damage, a python came and ate all the livestock. Legend has it that the python was the son of a Dragon King so a soothsayer said that the only way the villagers could stop the chaos was to have, for three days and nights, a fire dance during the Mid-Autumn Festival. Doing what the soothsayer said, the villagers constructed a huge dragon made of straw and covered it with lit incense sticks. Along with erupting firecrackers and drummers, the villagers danced for three days and nights and the plagues stopped.
Tsukimi / Moon-Viewing Festival 2013 in Japan
Tsukimi also called Otsukimi literally means moon viewing and is a Japanese festival that honors the Autumn moon. The Tsukimi tradition includes decorating with Japanese made pampas grass or susuki and eating Tsukimi dango or rice dumplings to celebrate the beautiful full moon. As offerings of seasonal produce are often displayed to the full moon such as sweet potatoes, and chestnuts or white beans are displayed as offerings the following month to the waxing moon. Other names these festivals have been called include the Potato Harvest Moon or Imomeigetsu, the Bean Harvest moon or Mamemeigetsu and the Chestnut Harvest Moon or Kurimeigetsu because of the offerings given.
Mooncake Festival 2013 in Malaysia
The Mooncake Festival or Mid-Autumn Festival is celebrated by the Chinese community in Malaysia where both adults and children have a lantern procession. This is a time when the Malaysian Chinese will exchange mooncakes with family members and friends as a way of expressing good luck and best wishes and a way to symbolize the celebration of prosperity and peace. The people delight at the sight of all the colorful lanterns that are displayed and the wide variety of mooncakes that are available. One of the most beautiful lantern processions you can see is on the holiday island of Penang, where the beautifully decorated lanterns bring out the festive nature in everyone. For anyone who would like to know more about Chinese traditions and culture, Sarawak offers the Chinese History Museum for an interesting insight.
Mooncake Festival 2013 in Singapore
The Mid-Autumn Festival is when the celebrations of the Mooncake Festival happen and they are both concentrated in Chinatown. The beating heart of the Chinese in Singapore, every year from September to October is transformed in Chinatown to an extravaganza of lanterns, lights, stage shows and bazaars and all to honor a festival that goes back to the roots of Chinese culture. Tourist and visitors are welcome to join the rest of Singapore to witness the opening ceremony for the official light-up. For weeks, the streets in Chinatown will be lined up with glowing lanterns and festive lights and if you come, you can pick up your own lantern at one of the street bazaars. You will find them in the traditional paper and candles types to the plastic kinds that are modeled after cartoon characters.
Once you have your lantern, join the lantern walk or shop at the street bazaar for traditional Chinese tea, pomelos and of course, mooncakes. If you have an adventurous nature, or maybe you are a budding gourmet, try a sample of the scrumptious mooncakes with the traditional fillings like durian, coffee and Ice cream, chocolate, or lotus and egg yolk. There will be a stage show performed every night during the lantern festival and do not forget to watch for the Dragon Dancers as they make their way through the crowd for a season of revelry and reunion.
Tuan Yuan Jie / Reunion Festival in Taiwan
Taiwan also celebrates the Mid-Autumn Festival across the whole country but instead of having mooncakes, their food of choice is barbecue, which is what they do during the Mid Autumn Festival. Taiwan considers this a national holiday and a time for family gatherings, which means that they also call this time the Reunion Festival or the Tuan Yuan Jie. Besides barbeque, other things eaten during the festivals is mooncakes because of roundness is a symbol of unity and pomelos. Because this is a traditional family event, the Mid-Autumn Festivals include many cookouts that are very happy affairs and the friendly Taiwanese people often try to get passersby to come join the fun. Of all the activities the festivals bring, the one that is the most popular is the Shang Yue or Full Moon Admiring.
Tết Trung Thu / Mid-Autumn Festival 2013 in Vietnam
The Mid-Autumn Festival or in Vietnamese, the Tet Trung Thu tells about a legend of Cuoi whose wife urinated by accident on the sacred banyan tree and the act took Cuoi to the moon. The Mid-Autumn festival will have children taking lit lanterns in procession so that Cuoi will find his way back to Earth. Oddly, the mooncakes in Vietnam are square instead of round although you can find round ones. Other indigenous tales that are told is the story of the Moon Lady and the story of the Carp who wanted to become a Dragon. One Vietnamese folklore tells of how the parents worked so hard in preparing for the harvest, they left their children to play by themselves.
The folklore goes on to say that the parents used the Mid-Autumn festival to show the love and appreciation they had for their children. Because of this, this festival is also called the Children’s Festival. The Lion dances are an important event both before and during the Mid Autumn festival in Vietnam. These Lion dances are performed by trained professionals as well as non-professional children’s groups. As the groups perform on the streets, they go up to each house and ask permission to perform for them. If the homeowner accepts, the Lion will go into the home and dance for the luck and fortune of the home and as a show of thankfulness, the host gives lucky money to the Lion.
Happy Mooncake Festival 2013