Saturday, September 3, 2011

Autumn, Moon Cakes and Lanterns (Part I)

I could not believe that I have been living in the States for 11 years.  I miss my family every once in a while, but those traditional Chinese festivals make me miss them more than usual.  One of my favorite traditional Chinese festivals is the "Mid-Autumn Festival" (Moon Festival).  Here is a short summary about Mid-Autumn Festival from Wikipedia:

The Mid-Autumn Festival is held on the 15th day of the eighth month in the Chinese calendar, which is in September or early October in the Gregorian calendar. It is a date that parallels the autumnal equinox of the solar calendar, when the moon is at its fullest and roundest. The traditional food of this festival is the mooncake, of which there are many different varieties.

The Mid-Autumn Festival is one of the few most important holidays in the Chinese calendar, the others being Chinese New Year and Winter Solstice, and is a legal holiday in several countries. Traditionally on this day, Chinese family members and friends will gather to admire the bright mid-autumn harvest moon, and eat moon cakes and pomelos under the moon together.

Pomelos (Imagine from Google)

Star fruits (Imagine from Google)
Traditional style mook cakes (Imagine from Google)

Water Caltrops,  (Imagine  from Cheap Ethnic Eatz)
Imagine from Cheap Ethnic Eatz

Imagine from Google

When I was younger, I didn't feel so excited about this festival.  Until several years ago, I was driving alone in the dark and saw the FULL and BIG moon in front of me; then I realized how much I miss my family, how many Mid-Autumn Festival family dinner I have absented since I came to the States, and the great old time we had with my grandmom, my parents, my uncles and aunts and all my cousins.

We usually gathered at my grandmom's house for a family dinner first.  Then, we headed to the rooftop and hung out there.  The kids (me, my sister and my cousins) would carry the brightly lit paper lanterns (sometimes battery operated one) and chasing each other (just do what kids usually do=p).  The adults would talk and eat the traditional Chinese food for Mid-Autumn Festival, such as steamed taro with sugar or soy sauce, star fruits, pomelos, a bull head look alike thingy (English name:  Water Caltrop, find out what they are and how they taste like from here) and of course Moon Cake.  Those memory seems so far away from me, but so close to my heart.  

In the next post:  I will tell you:

what is mook cake? 
How do they taste like? 
What kind of flavors they have? 
What is Mrs. G's favorite? 

So stay tuned.


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