Thursday, September 28, 2006



It seemed strange to me at first that I first saw the mooncakes being sold since early September and was pondering whether the Mooncake Festival was nearing. It turned out not to be the case since if I'm not mistaken it will fall during October 6th this year (please correct me if I'm wrong). So why the sudden large rush to sell these festival delicacies? It must be for the sake of commercialization. Yeah now they're pushing the mooncakes earlier so that sales can be throughout the month and not just weeks before the actual festival. Not that I'm complaining since I love these sweet little things but its no longer a folk festival and just another commercial indulgence at best.


For some historical facts, the mooncake festival is also reffered to as the Mid-Autumn Festival (not that we have any of the four seasons here but thats beside the point). Several myths, folklores and historical facts have been attributed to the festival and the many cultural traditions that is associated with it. Chang Er is one of these, often re-enacted as a play by various groups, is about a woman who prevented a tyranical ruler from achieving immortality by downing his potion. Her body grew lighter and she was said to have floated up to the moon where she resides and was from then on worshipped as the Goddess of the Moon.


Another story attributed to the rise of mooncakes was during the Yuan Dynasty whereby Mongols ruled over major portions of China. A lantern wielding messenger had the idea to hide messages within one such cake to be brought secretly to conspirators who then set out to murder and overthrow their oppressors. Nowadays in Malaysia the Mooncake festival is mostly concerning people celebrating by wielding candle lit lanterns made from wood, paper or plastic and parading through the streets. Mooncakes are sold to be eaten with various varieties available such as the normal baked mooncake to the crystal skinned mooncake to jellied mooncakes. Their fillings have also been modernized from the usual red bean pastes, lotus seed paste and green been pastes to include the likes of raspberries, cheese, durian and much more. Often these are packed in beautifully crafted tins to be sent to relatives or friends as gifts. Major lantern festivals are also held yearly with models of gigantic plastic and wood constructs in various forms lit brightly during the night.


No matter what reason you're celebrating the festival enjoy these delicacies that only comes once a year. They taste great and my favourite are still the crystal skinned varieties made from soft sugary pastries as their outer shell and filled with sweet concoctions. I'll be going now to get another box of these before next week and advise anyone wanting to try them to do so as well.

No comments: