Nee Hao Magazine wishes all our readers and supporters a Happy Mid-Autumn Moon Festival.
The Mid-Autumn Festival is a Chinese celebration second to only the Chinese New Year. The date of this festival is based on the Chinese lunar calendar and is on the 15th day of the 8th month (Monday 12th September 2011) , where the moon is at its fullest, roundest and brightest. Chinese families all over the world will usually have a family meal and eat some moon cakes.
Fen Fen Huang of Liverpool, director of China Pearl says;
“ Middle Autumn Festival, also known as Moon Festival or Zhong Qiu Jie in Mandarin, dates back over 3000 years to moon worship in China’s Shang dynasty and was first called Zhong Qiu Jie in the Zhou Dynasty. It is one of the most important traditional Chinese festivals and falls on 15th or 16th August each year in the Chinese Lunar Calendar. The whole family will gather together for a meal, games, lanterns and worship the full bright moon.
For me, it’s especially meaningful to celebrate in the UK because I want to promote more Chinese traditions and culture along with Chinese New Year to a British audience and to strengthen the connection between the Chinese community and the British society at large; and also for the people whose families are far away from them, it is a nice way to keep their family close to heart “.
On the subject of full moons but totally unrelated to the Chinese festival, did you know that throughout history and the world, every time a full moon occurs, crime rates go up? There are a few possible explanations for this. In history before the invention of electricity whenever a full moon occurred it made the night brighter thus increasing activity levels so more people went out at night. Naturally the more people who are out, the more likely something will happen.
In modern times when a full moon occurs Police stats have noticed a trend that sometimes they get more calls than usual whenever there is a full moon. Some emergency services even draft more resources in to cope with this unusual phenomenon. One possible theory is that the human body is made of 80% water. So if the moon can affect the tides and waves of the sea, then the gravitational pull can affect the body in the same way, and this might make people react differently than normal. In films they have classics to highlight this theory, such as the cliched character of a man turning into a wolf whenever the moon is at its roundest and brightest.
Anyway back on topic and about Moon cakes
This tradition is thousands of years old, and is celebrated by family gatherings with the eating of Moon Cakes. Available from all good Chinese supermarkets up to a month before the Mid-Autumn festival starts, Moon Cakes can come in a tin of 4 pieces and cost around £10 to £20. It’s a custom to buy some Moon cakes to your partner’s parents as a sign of respect regardless if they already have 20 tins.
The making of Moon cakes and the design belong to high level bakery skills perfected over thousands of years and fit for a king’s consumption. The pastry and crust are most often secret recipes and the filling consists of a lotus seed paste with a duck’s yolk in the middle. Obviously there are different variations depending on which province the cakes are from, such as the Beijing Moon cake or Yunnan Moon cake.
A song from legendary singer Teresa Teng ‘ The Moon Represents My Heart ‘