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Mid Autumn – Mooncakes! 月饼

Once you start, you will never stop!  This is why mid autumn festival is one of my favourite as I get to savour a wide variety of mooncakes from many homecooks and master chefs….. yummy!

mooncakes 2

My mum-in-law made the best Durian mooncakes ever, but she had retired from making them  since 2009.  Those were there days where I would help collate orders from my colleagues, packing and bringing boxes of homemade Snow Skin Durian mooncakes to the office for days, up to two weeks prior to mid autumn festival.  My mum-in-law would hand blend the durian into puree, making sure that the Durian fibre were not damaged from over blending while ensuring the snow skin that encapsulated the durian puree is thin enough.

Festive Legends
1. Harvest Worshipping – It was noted in many historical citations that ancient Chinese worshiped the harvest moon on the 15th of the 8th month of the Lunar month (Chinese Lunar Calendar), as they believed that this practice would bring them a bountiful harvest the following year.

This custom of worshipping would include sacrificial offerings with fruits and incense, and pomelos are sometimes sliced and opened up into a lotus shape when offered as a sacrifice.

2. Uprising – According to another widespread folk tale (not necessarily supported by historical records), the Mid-Autumn Festival commemorates an uprising in China against the Mongol rulers of the Yuan Dynasty (1280–1368) in the 14th century.

As group gatherings were banned, it was impossible to make plans for a rebellion.  Noting that the Mongols did not eat mooncakes, Liu Bowen of Zhejiang Province, advisor to the Chinese rebel leader Zhu Yuanzhang, came up with the idea of timing the rebellion to coincide with the Mid-Autumn Festival.

Liu Bowen asked his soldiers to write “uprising on the night of the Mid-Autumn Festival” on slips of paper, put them in mooncakes, and then sell them to the other Han people.  When the night of the Mid-Autumn Festival came, a huge uprising broke out and the Han people succeeded.  From then on, people ate mooncakes every Mid-Autumn Festival to commemorate the uprising.

3.  Goddess of the Moon – Chang’Er – there are at least three different versions of this story, so I shouldn’t spend more time rewriting them.  Now go do your research while I hunt for great mooncakes to be sold this October (in 2017, Mid Autumn Festival will be on October 4th).

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