Okay, what can I say, I love China. We’ve only been here a month and yet it seems we have some sort of holiday every few days. First there was Teacher Day, then National Day, and now? Well, today is the Mid-Autumn Festival of course!
The Mid-Autumn festival also has a more delicious name as well, the Moon Cake festival, and true to its name, the moon cakes are EVERYWHERE!
For those of you who have never had the pleasure of eating a moon cake it is a round thick fruit/meat/flavoring filled cake with a soft crust outside. The tops of moon cakes have swirly style designs and the flavors range from egg (which is traditional but gross) to black bean (okay) to fruit flavored (some of which are delicious.) The school’s cafeteria sells cherry moon cakes everyday which I love. I think it tastes like a thicker fig newton bar, only cherry flavored of course.
In China the Mid-Autumn festival is one of the most important holidays of the year, after Chinese New Years. It is held on the 15th day of eighth month in the Chinese Calendar when the moon is believed to be at its fullest. The delicious moon cakes are meant to represent the moons fullness and the circle of the family. Farmers celebrate the end of a good harvest and the family gets together to eat and light lanterns. Kind of like a Chinese Thanksgiving I guess.
There is also a myth that surrounds the day involving a beautiful woman who lives in the moon. That’s why you will often see a woman in, or around the moon in illustrations for this holiday. (If you’re interested you can read the story on Wikipedia.)
As for us, well, Ryan and I each have 2 boxes of moon cakes from the school, (They all have different fillings, but thankfully most seem to be fruit) so we are all set on that front. As for the day itself we will probably head over to Hangzhou to check out the festivities there. Hangzhou is the fourth most visited city in the largest populated country in China so I can only imagine place will be packed. But you only have one chance to celebrate Moon Cake Day in China, right? So we might just brave the crowds.
All I know is, no matter what we do, moon cakes will be eaten and enjoyed. Happy Mid-Autumn festival everyone!