2020 Mid Autumn Mooncake Festival

2020 Mid Autumn Mooncake Festival

The Mooncake Festival, also known as the Mid Autumn (Zhongqiu) Festival is celebrated every 15th day of the Eighth Lunar month.  It is the second biggest holiday of the year for the Chinese.   Mooncakes, a rich pastry typically filled with sweet-bean or lotus-seed paste, are traditionally eaten during the festival.  The dates are 2019: September 13 (Friday); 2020: October 1 (Thursday); 2021: September 21 (Tuesday); 2022: September 10 (Saturday)

Canada’s big cities such as Vancouver and Toronto have big Chinese population, and thus, the Oriental foodstores such as the T&T Supermarket or Chinatown will be selling the traditional mooncakes.  Mooncakes are rich pastries usually made with bean paste or lotus seed paste.  Each mooncake can contain  as much as 1000 calories.   It is usually cut into small wedges and eaten with tea or coffee.

Mooncakes are offered as gifts to family, friends, and business colleagues usually in boxes of 4 or 12, at prices ranging from $10 to $100.   Modern mooncakes have become very creative with many types of fillings.

Fillings in contemporary style mooncakes has diversified to include just about anything which can be made into a paste. Mooncakes containing taro paste and pineapple, which were considered novelty items at their time of invention have in recent years become commonplace items. In addition, filling with ingredients such as coffee, chocolate, nuts (walnuts, mixed nuts, etc.), fruits (prunes, pineapples, melons, lychees, etc.), vegetables (sweet potatoes, etc.), and even ham have been added to give a modern twist to the traditional recipes. It is also increasingly popular to change the base of the paste to a custard-style.

Read about the legend and story behind the Mooncake Festival, and the Moon Goddess, Chang E.  The Mid-Autumn Festival is a time of celebration, family gathering, thanksgiving, moongazing.  It is more than folklore and legend, there is also a historical connection during the Ming Dynasty, when a rebellion was aided by messages hidden inside the mooncakes. That is another story to tell.

This post was originally posted in 2014, and has been updated recently in 2019.

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