Mid Autumn Festival & Mooncakes

The Mid Autumn Festival (aka the Moon Festival) is a harvest festival where mooncakes are the featured pastry of the party.  It is a time where families gather and share a delicious meal, similar to Thanksgiving, and decorative lanterns are hung in celebration of the festival. 

The focus on the moon ties back to Chinese folklore story of the couple Chang’e and Houyi.  Back then, the earth was blistering hot with 10 suns, making it hard to grow anything.  Houyi saved his townspeople by shooting down 9 of the 10 suns that scorched the earth and was rewarded with a special elixir that would make him immortal.  Word got out about the elixir and a thief tried to steal it.  In an effort to ensure that the elixir wouldn’t fall into the wrong hands, his wife Chang’e drank it and became the moon goddess.  Houyi was saddened by the disappearance of his wife and when he realized what had become of her, would offer up her favorite foods during the full moon. 

Mooncakes, round and shaped like the full moon, are the signature food of the festival.  They can be filled with both sweet and savory fillings-red bean paste, lotus root paste, egg yolk, fruits, meat and nuts.  These pastries have with beautiful decorative imprints or lucky sayings on the top which are achieved through mooncake molds.  We have yet to try our hand at making mooncakes and usually just purchase them at our local Asian grocery store or bakery!


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