We will be celebrating the Mid Autumn Festival on Sunday, September 11 immediately following the 10:30am service with tea and moon cakes.
Legends and myths aside, the Mid-Autumn Festival, often popularly called the Moon Festival or the Festival of the August Moon, is actually a celebration of the harvest, very similar to Canadian Thanksgiving. As China was primarily an agricultural country before, the harvest played an important role in people’s 3 lives. After all the tilling, planting, sweat and toil, the time had come to reap from the year’s efforts and labour, and to thank the heavens for the crops. Traditionally, the date was (still is) the fifteenth day of the eighth moon in the lunar calendar, also known as Mid-Autumn. People gathered together to celebrate their harvests and partake of their freshly-picked crops. They also exchanged little cakes made from their reapings, and it was said that every family had a special recipe!
Early mooncakes were not as sophisticated a delicacy as they are nowadays. But things started to change in the Yuan Dynasty. Under the Mongolians, the Han Chinese majority was severely oppressed. A group of militant leaders decided to stage an uprising but had difficulty in spreading the word to the public. It was the time of Mid-Autumn, and one leader thought of using the custom of exchanging cakes to relay the message by hiding little notes inside the cakes. Though that particular revolution was unsuccessful, it started a new trend in mooncake making. People began to put fillings in the cakes, such as preserved egg yolks, melon, nuts and other sweetmeats. And so we have the gourmet’s delight of today!