THE Chinese Mooncake Festival starts today (September 12). Chinese people form the ninth-largest non-European Union foreign community in
Many Chinese speciality food stores will sell Mooncakes, which are very labour intensive to make and only made at this time of the year.
Traditionally they are typically round or rectangular pastries filled with lotus seed paste with yolks from salted duck eggs in the centre to symbolise the full moon.
There is often an imprint on top with the Chinese characters for ‘longevity’ or ‘harmony’. A whole 10cm diameter cake can be more than 800-calories. Over time both the crusts and fillings have diversified, some into healthier versions.
Contemporary Mooncake’s often have a ‘snowskin’ made from jelly or glutinous rice and are filled with taro, pineapple or other fruit, nut or bean pastes. They are usually eaten in small wedges with Chinese tea.
The Mooncake Festival is linked to the 3,000-year-old moon worship and legend of Chang’e, the mythical Moon Goddess of Immortality who represents the female ‘Yin’ principle and her husband Houyi, the sunny ‘Yang’ male principle.
There are various verstions to the story, which involves an immortality pill given to Houyi, which Chang’e swallows and then goes to live on the moon.
This is one of the most important holidays in the Chinese calendar – the others being Chinese New Year and the Winter Solstice – and in some communities around the world many lanterns of all colours, shapes and sizes are lit.
By Nicole Hallett