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Guilin Photo Gallery
September 22, 2010
On the 15th day of the 8month of the lunar calendar the moon is round and in China people celebrate the Moon or Mid-Autumn Moon Festival. The round shape symbolizes completeness and family wholeness and reunion. As a result, many Chinese travel far to return home for this important holiday. For 2010, this holiday occurs on September 22 this year and many adoptive families and FCC groups will be celebrating. (If your family or group would like to order your own moon cakes, you may do so and help a great cause, which is the GIFT non-profit organization, focused on providing Asian American role models for Asian adoptive kids. Click Moon cakes for a good cause to see how to order these for your family and friends.)
Tradition and Legend
There is a compelling practical story behind the moon cakes in that they were essential to a key military victory in China’s history. As the moon cakes were popular during the Southern Song Dynasty (1127-1279), they became a key ingredient in a rebellion to overthrow the ruling Mongol army. Since the Mongols did not eat moon cakes, the Han Chinese people stuffed notes inside the little cakes that indicated the Mid-Autumn festival as the date of the uprising and distributed the cakes widely. This resulted in a major insurgency that led a nationwide revolt that brought down the Mongols in 1368.
How to Celebrate the Moon Festival
Today the Moon festival is celebrated by family gatherings, and feasts, followed by sharing legends of the festivals, looking at the moon and eating moon cakes. Generally one moon cake is cut in quarters or eighths and a small bit is eaten with a cup of steaming hot tea. There are hundreds of varieties of moon cakes on sale in the month before Moon Festival. Some bakeries in China, particularly in Shanghai have developed exotic flavors that include shark fin and pearl dust and therefore have become expensive and exclusive. Other unusual variations include green tea moon cakes, Chinese sausage ones or a Southeast Asian variety cooked with glutinous rice flour. Hagen-Daz has even responded to the market with a line of ice cream moon cakes in Asian markets. Many people regard moon cakes though as similar to fruitcakes in the U.S. , an obliged tradition.
In Hong Kong, parents allow children to stay up late and families travel to high vantage points such as the Peak to light lanterns and watch the huge autumn moon rise, while eating moon cakes. Parks are lit up with thousands of lanterns in every color, shape and size. There is also a fire dragon parade, with a 200 foot dragon winding its way through streets near Victoria Park to fend off any plague.
In all parts of China, it is considered an essential holiday for reuniting
with family, much as Thanksgiving is for Americans. It is especially a fun
one for children, who get to feast, stay up late, and enjoy brightly lit
lanterns, puppet shows and have lantern processions. However your family
chooses to celebrate, we wish you many fine memories of this year’s
Mid-Autumn Festival. We’d love to see your photos if you’d like.
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