It’s Mooncake Festival Time!

Mooncake 2It all began, more than 1000 BC years ago, when the Chinese realized the movement of the moon coincided with the changes of the seasons and its annual crop production.  So to express thanks for the harvest, the Chinese created the mid-autumn festival on the 15th day of the eighth month of the lunar calendar.

This holiday is also called the Moon Festival or Moon Cake Festival, which equally celebrates the moon, when it is the roundest and brightest.

I had the pleasure of celebrating this three-day holiday in China some years back. It is the second most celebrated holiday in China, next to the Chinese or Lunar New Year.  As a token of friendship, people blessed over and over gain with boxes of mooncakes. Soon I was overwhelmed and hardly knew what to do.  I couldn’t refuse these lovely gifts, yet didn’t quite know how to carry them all home on the airplane. But I managed to pack them all home to share with family and friends. Plus they do freeze well to enjoy for months later

Mooncakes are only sold for around 15 days a year. The cakes are typically round, like the full harvest moon of the Autumn Equinox. They can be up to 4 inches (10 cm) wide and 2 inches (5 cm) deep.  Most cakes consist of a pastry skin enveloping a sweet, dense filling of red bean or lotus seed. Share them with family members and friends and eat them in small wedges, with Chinese tea.

This year’s festival takes place between September 15-17, 2016 and next year between October 4-6, 2017. If you are planning a trip to China or other parts of Asia, be aware all government offices will be closed, as well as many other businesses, during this time.

In addition to eating mooncakes, many Chinese ethnic minorities hold their own celebrations. Click here (also at: to learn a bit more about this festive holiday.

Wherever you are in the world, find a bakery or market that sells mooncakes and buy one to enjoy. There are many flavors, depending on where they are produced. I like the traditional one best, with lotus paste and a duck egg yolk in the middle.

BONUS:  If you can’t find mooncakes where you live, or if you would like to make your own, here’s a traditional mooncake recipe (Also at: Feel free to vary the recipe with a few of your own ingredients. The important thing is your willingness to celebrate this great Chinese tradition as part of your overall cultural awareness. This is truly what makes life more meaningful and enjoyable.

QUESTION: I would love to hear from you with your stories of how you celebrate this fun holiday.  Enter it in the space below!

Happy Practicing!

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