Mid-Autumn Day Festival

Pimsleur Approach • September 21, 2012 • GlobalComments (0)

If there’s one thing that binds together every culture, and all peoples, through every time period since time began to be recorded, it is the acknowledgment and celebration of the two solstices and two equinoxes which occur each year. A lesser-known fact is that “cross quarter” days, or the days which fall in the center of the solstices and equinoxes, are also often marked with holidays.

Botanical garden, Montreal, Quebec, Canada. Mi...

Image via Wikipedia

If one were to make a list of the celebrations around the world marking these events from the beginning of time to today, it would encompass almost all major religious and cultural celebrations that have occurred and which continue to occur. In the United states alone this includes Easter, Christmas, Passover, New Year’s Eve, Valentine’s Day, Saint Patrick’s Day, May Day, Mother’s Day, Father’s Day, Halloween and even Groundhog Day! Each of these dates corresponds to either a cross quarter day or a solstice/equinox day.
One important festival coming up which celebrates the autumnal equinox is the tradition of “Mid Autumn Day”. In Chinese culture it’s also known as the “Moon Festival” or the “Mooncake Festival” and it marks the day when the moon is the most full and round. It’s celebrated this year on September 12th, and is rung in with thousands of brightly lit lanterns, giant dragon floats, and special foods.

Mooncakes

A grilled moon cake in Vietnam.

Image via Wikipedia

Moon cakes, similar to cookies, are widely eaten during this time and are one of the most important aspects of the festival. They can be stuffed with many different varieties of fillings such as lotus bean, mung bean, black bean and red bean pastes and sometimes cream cheese or salted egg yolks. A five-kernel cake is also consumed, which consists of nuts and seeds from walnuts, almonds, sesame seeds, watermelons and pumpkins. Crusts of the moon cake can be flaky, tender or even chewy depending on the ingredients and methods used in baking.

The Mooncake Festival is also celebrated in Taiwan, Vietnam, Singapore, and the Philippines. In Taiwan, the custom of barbecuing large quantities of meat has complimented the moon cakes, including the roasting of whole pigs over rotating spits.

If you’re planning on heading to Taiwan or any of the other Asian destinations for this year’s Moon Festival, make sure you seek out a gym in the vicinity; Officials there have actually issued a health warning about consuming moon cakes and barbeque. Eating a few moon cakes and downing a plate of barbeque in one sitting contains as many calories and as much fat as the average person needs for the whole day, so moderation is key.

For more information on this fabulous festival, visit en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mid-Autumn_Festival.

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