The Moon Festival (aka Mid-Autumn Festival) is almost here. This year, it will take place on October 3, 2009. Growing up in the US, I've never experienced the full-on festivities that take place when chinese people celebrate this popular holiday, but I always look forward to it as the time when I get to eat mooncakes.
There are many variations of the legend that surrounds the celebration of the moon festival. You can read about all the different legends here. What I remember most as a little girl was that my parents told me that on Moon day, the moon is fullest and it's the one day of the year that if you look hard enough you can see the outline of a lady and her rabbit, who live in the moon.
I remember as a little girl, leaning on the windowsill and staring really hard at the moon on Moon Festival night. I never did see the bunny or the girl.
For me, Moon Festival means eating mooncakes. I love mooncakes, though they are not very good for you so it's a good thing the holiday only comes once a year. You can purchase mooncakes at most chinese bakeries and chinese supermarkets.
They often come in fancy boxes and pretty bags. I like to keep the boxes to store things like my sewing equipment. Mini traditional mooncakes look something like this:
There are all different types of fillings. Usually the filling is very sweet. Traditional ones include red bean, date, lotus paste, white lotus paste, mixed nuts, pineapple. My favorite is the lotus or white lotus. I also like ones with the double egg yolk. White lotus or lotus with double egg yolks tend to be the most pricey ones. The salty egg yolk is a great compliment to the sweet lotus paste.
I've seen some beautiful mooncakes from fellow food bloggers. I didn't even know that mooncakes could come in such gorgeous creations as I'm only used to seeing the traditional ones. Here's a great post on mooncakes available in Singapore. I wish we had them here!
The box I bought has the traditional mooncakes, as well as mochi mooncakes, and cafe style mooncakes.
I also picked out this pig mooncake because it looked so cute! I'm not sure I'll be able to eat it though because it is so cute looking.