With the Mid-Autumn Festival just around the corner, many start to wonder what does the festival truly signifies.
Not interested in the stories? Head to this page for 8 mooncake recipes with a modern twist.
Want to find out more about the mooncakes in the market? Check out these Crowning delights of Mid-Autumn Festival!
Legend of Mid-Autumn Festival
The most popular legend surrounding the festival is the story of Chang Er flying to the moon.
Once upon a time, it was said that there existed ten suns in the sky and the extreme heat caused much difficulty in everyone’s’ life.
To relieve the people’s suffering, Chang Er’s husband Hou Yi, the hero, shot down nine of the suns and received a magical elixir from the Queen of Heaven as the reward.
The elixir was able to make a person immortal and ascend to the Heaven immediately. Unwilling to leave his wife, Hou Yi decided not to drink the elixir and asked Chang Er to safeguard the elixir.
One day, while Hou Yi was out for hunting, a villain named Peng Meng tried to steal the elixir from Chang Er. In order to prevent the elixir from falling into the wrong hand, Chang Er decided to drink the elixir.
Upon drinking it, Chang Er ascended to the moon. To remember his wife, Hou Yi started to place offerings to the full moon and thus formed the Mid-Autumn Festival.
A tiny hero of the moon
Following this legend is the story of the jade rabbit. The story started with three immortals impersonating as beggars in the forest.
The immortals beg for food from a fox, a monkey and a rabbit. Both the fox and monkey offered food to them while the rabbit, which was less resourceful, decided to jump into the fire and sacrificed herself as food for the immortals.
Touched by the rabbit’s action, the immortals granted the rabbit immortality and sent the rabbit to the moon to live together with Chang Er.
What about the mooncakes?
The mooncakes tradition during Mid-Autumn festival was said to only begin during the end of Yuan dynasty.
In an effort to overthrow the Mongolian rulers of China, the revolutionaries hid secret messages in the mooncakes to be distributed on the night of the Mid-Autumn Day.
Following the success of the revolt, the founder of the next dynasty, Zhu Yuanzhang of the Ming Dynasty, made it a custom to reward his subjects with mooncakes every Mid-Autumn Festival.
For years, mooncakes remained widely popular during Mid-Autumn Festival.
The traditional mooncake is commonly made with sweet pastry skin with fillings and baked to golden brown.
In recent years, many different variation of mooncakes emerge in the market deviating from the traditional baked mooncake.
One well-known example is the snow skin mooncake, also widely known as Ping Pei mooncake. This modern mooncake does not require any baking and is usually eaten chilled.
Check out this recipe for Ping Pei Cheese Mooncake with Lotus Filling from Kuali.
Another type of mooncake which moves away from the conventional mooncake is the Jelly mooncake. This mooncake is usually homemade as it is simple and easy to make.
Many adaptations are also made to the traditional baked mooncake in an attempt to give them a new look and modern taste.
One such example here is the Flaky Skin Mixed Grains, Seeds and Nuts Mooncake which opt to give the mooncake a flaky skin instead.
To find more recipes for mooncake, check out this page for all mooncakes recipes from Kuali.