Mid-Autumn festival and finally holiday for the Chinese.

The Mid-Autumn Festival (Simplified Chinese: 中秋节), also known as the Moon (cake) Festival, is a popular East Asian celebration of abundance and togetherness, dating back over 3,000 years to China’s Zhou Dynasty.

Consequence is one week of holiday, that is one week of possible delays. Foreigners doing business with China often forget this, because in the Western world does not celebrate it at all. It is the same as when the West is celebrating Christmas, the Asian continue daily hard work.

The Mid-Autumn Festival is one of the two most important holidays in the Chinese calendar (the other being the Chinese Lunar New Year), and is a legal holiday in several countries.

Decoration and antique:
To make mooncakes molds are used. Some of those molds of more than 100 years old sometimes, can become a collector’s item or even a decorative piece in an interior. moldes mooncake

You can find some in the calatog : http://www.antique-chinese-furniture.com/oscommerce/www/product_info.php?products_id=4421

For those who want to know some more about it, read the following :

When? (Gregorian Vs. Lunar calendar)

The Mid-Autumn Festival falls on the 15th day of the 8th lunar month of the Chinese calendar (usually around mid- or late-September in the Gregorian calendar), a date that parallels the Autumn Equinox of the solar calendar.

Origin? (Harvest)

This is the ideal time, when the moon is at its fullest and brightest, to celebrate the abundance of the summer’s harvest. Farmers celebrate the end of the summer harvesting season on this date.

Tradition? (family)

Traditionally, on this day, Chinese family members and friends will gather to admire the bright mid-autumn harvest moon, and eat moon cakes and pomeloes together. Accompanying the celebration, there are additional cultural or regional customs, such as:

• Eating moon cakes outside under the moon

• Putting pomelo rinds on one’s head

• Carrying brightly lit lanterns

• Burning incense in reverence to deities including Chang’e

• Planting Mid-Autumn trees

• Lighting lanterns on towers

• Fire Dragon Dances

Mooncake?

Simplified Chinese: 月饼 Hanyu Pinyin: yuèbĭng Literal meaning: Mooncake <!–[if !vml]–><!–[endif]–>

The traditional food of this festival is the mooncake, of which there are many different varieties. It is a Chinese pastry. Typical mooncakes are round or rectangular pastries, measuring about 10 cm in diameter and 4-5 cm thick. A thick filling usually made from lotus paste is surrounded by a relatively thin (2-3 mm) crust and may contain yolks from salted duck eggs. Mooncakes are rich, heavy, and dense compared with most Western cakes and pastries. They are usually eaten in small wedges accompanied by Chinese tea.

(few Westerns really like it, but get plenty of them as a present from the ever friendly Chinese)

For more information on Chinese History, Holidays, culture etc, why not take a look at the following links to more articles:

Chinese History

Non-English Information

2 Comment

  1. Roger says:

    Was poking around on the web and found this reply on a “cooking gadgets blog” which I thought was quite qood.

    In 1280 AD, the Mongolians destroyed the Song Dynasty and controlled China during the Yuan Dynasty (1280AD -1368 AD). Under Mongolian rule, Chinese people were oppressed, persecuted and treated like slaves. Finally, the Chinese had enough and planned a revolution to be held during the August Moon Festival in 1368.

    Because Mongolians don’t eat mooncakes, the Chinese planned to overthrow the Mongolians by sending secret messages in mooncakes. Chinese bakers were told to send mooncakes to all Chinese households with the message to execute all Mongolians after the August Moon family gathering. Chinese families were instructed to not to eat the mooncakes until the 15th of the 8th lunar moon.
    Besides its significance in Chinese history, mooncakes play an important role in August Moon gatherings and gift giving. These palm-sized round cakes symbolize family unity and perfection. Some mooncakes have a golden yellow egg yoke in the center which looks like a bright moon. They usually come in a box of four and are packaged in tin boxes with traditional Chinese motifs.
    A traditional mooncake is made of a sweet bean-paste filling with golden brown flaky skin. The top of the mooncake is embossed with the insignia of the baker molded into the golden brown skin. It takes 2 to 4 weeks to prepare the bean-paste. Because making mooncakes is labor intensive, many families just buy them from bakeries.

    Over the years, mooncakes have slowly evolved from a Chinese delicacy to something as common as ice cream cake. To adapt to today’s health conscious and Westernized lifestyle, many bakeries offer miniature mooncakes and fat-free mooncakes. Some are made of yogurt, jelly and fat-free ice cream. To be competitive, bakers boast about how little sugar and oil they use in their mooncakes. Customers can pick and choose the size and filling that suits their taste and diet. However, the traditional bean-paste filling with egg yolk mooncake is still very popular
    How to make mooncakes

    This is not a recipe but simplified steps for the curious. There are five steps.

    Syrup ingredients (for the dough that forms the body of the cake)

    sugar, water, lime juice and maltose.

    Put sugar, water and lime into a pot and bring to a boil till sugar has dissolved. Lower heat and simmer till thick and syrupy. Switch off heat and add maltose; stir to dissolve, and leave to cool.

    Pastry (dough)

    Syrup you’ve just made, bicarbonate of soda, lye water (dissolved yeast), peanut oil, and flour.

    Put syrup, bicarbonate of soda and peanut oil in a mixing bowl, add in lye water and mix well with a spoon. Fold in flour gradually and stir to form a firm dough. Let dough rest for five hours.

    Paste Filling

    Lotus seeds or red/black beans, lye water, peanut oil, sugar, maltose, cooked glutinous-rice flour and boiling water.

    Add lye water into lotus seeds, mix well and leave aside for 20 minutes. Pour in boiling water and cover for 20 to 30 minutes. Strain and remove the skin of lotus seeds.

    Boil lotus seeds till soft, put into blender with some water and blend to a thick paste.

    Heat wok (pan) with a quarter portion of oil and a quarter portion of sugar until sugar turns light brown. Put in blended lotus paste, add remaining sugar, stir constantly until paste is smooth and thick in consistency. Pour in the rest of the oil gradually, stirring the paste until thick. Stir in maltose and blend well. Sieve in cooked glutinous-rice flour for a thicker and firmer consistency in the paste. Leave overnight before use.

    Egg Glaze

    Egg yolk, water and a pinch of salt.

    Put all in a bowl and beat until smooth.

    Making of Mooncake

    Divide dough into even pieces of approximately 40g each. Roll the dough into a ball and flatten out. Divide filling into even portions to match the number of dough pieces. In the case of lotus seed paste, if you like a cooked salted duck egg yolk, one yolk can be placed in the center of each cake.

    Place the filling in the middle of the flattened dough and carefully wrap around it. Seal the edges and roll dough lightly between your palms until all filling is hidden.

    Dust cake mould lightly with flour, press dough ball into the mould. When the cake shape forms, dislodge the cake. Bake in a preheated oven at 180 degrees C for 10 minutes. Remove and leave to cool for 5 minutes. Brush on egg glaze, return to oven and bake for another 10 minutes or till golden

  2. […] Sunday is the mid-autumn harvest festival for Chinese around the globe. To learn more, jump over to last years post on the mid-autumn festival, which will provide you with all the details and history surrounding the Moon Cake Festival also […]

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