1. Mooncakes are eaten during Mid-Autumn, an annual festival that celebrates the moon and an abundance of harvest.
2. Mid-Autumn falls on the 15th day of the 8th month of the Lunar Calendar, and it is always a full moon on that day. (This year it fell on September 8, around two weeks ago).
3. A popular Mid-Autumn legend claims that mooncakes were used in helping to overthrow the Mongols during the Yuan Dynasty. Special mooncakes marked by a single red dot were given to the Mongols, and mooncakes without this insignia were baked with a small piece of paper in the center, holding a hidden message of where and when to rebel.
4. Traditional mooncakes are made with lotus seed paste and egg yolks. But a plethora of varieties are made today— green tea, chocolate, low-fat versions, different fruit flavors, and so on. (Even Starbucks makes mooncakes!)
5. The most strongly associated myth revolves around the extraordinary archer named Hou Yi. The earth was burning from ten suns scorching the earth, so Hou Yi shot down nine of them, and was awarded with the elixir of life. His beautiful wife Chang’e drank the whole elixir herself (one is only supposed to take half of the potion), and floated all the way up to the stars, landing on the moon. She later became the Moon Goddess. Therefore, on Mid-Autumn, when the moon is at its fullest, we commemorate this story.
If you’re interested in tasting mooncakes (and why wouldn’t you be?) come to the Mid-Autumn Festival, hosted by HKSA (Hong Kong Student Association) and SSA (Singapore Student Association).
Date: September 24, Wednesday
Location: Tisch Rooftop