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. For 2014, the exact date for the Mooncake Festival is September 8, 2014.
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.