Chinese Moon Festival – Legend of the Moon

The Moon Festival also known as Mid-Autumn Festival falls on the 15th day of the 8th Lunar Month. It is based on the lunar calendar and is usually the first full moon in September. After Chinese New Year the Moon Festival is one of the most celebrated annual events in the Chinese community filled with legendary stories that are still shared with family and friends to this day. One ancient Chinese fable is the legend of Chang Er the mythical Moon Goddess of Immortality who rose up to the moon after swallowing a elixir meant for her legendary archer husband Hou Yi’s great achievements, she has lived in the ‘Moon palace’ ever since. People of that time would burn incense and candles, stand under the moon and pray for her luck and safety this is how worshiping the moon caught on among folks.

A big full Moon is a symbol of togetherness so the Moon Festival is an occasion when families hold reunions and share meals together as this coincides with the Autumn Harvest period where food is abundant. When the full moon rises, families gather to watch the full moon, share an evening meal followed by ‘Moon Cakes’ the festival’s signature dessert which is round and served in small wedges.  It is traditionally made with lotus seed paste and a salted egg yolk inside. A more contemporary style of Moon Cake has now become increasing popular with fillings such as chocolate, coffee, fruit and even ice cream! The Moon cake is typically served with Chinese tea. Each region has their own customs but the Moon Festival meal is typically eaten outside on round plates on a round table under the round Moon to symbolize the reunion of family.

Lanterns light up the night at Moon Festival. Basic lanterns are typically made with brightly coloured, thin, tissue-like paper to allow as much light to filter through as possible. Modern-day lanterns have evolved to include elaborately cut paper designs and even battery-operated electronic ones in the shape of popular cartoon characters. Children are attracted to all the beautiful colours and patterns on the lanterns and play with them throughout the night. Due to the popularity of the lanterns events such as lantern exhibitions and Hong Kong’s spectacular Fire Dragon Dance are held each year.

It is easy to see how the Moon Festival is still one of the most celebrated events in China as it’s a time when food, tradition, legend, and family intermingle, allowing parents to teach their children about this unique Chinese festival.

Cabramatta Moon Festival 2012

This year, Sydney’s Cabramatta Moon Festival will be held on Sunday 23rd September. This event is a celebration of a long-standing tradition in parts of Asia where the abundance of autumnal foods are both celebrated and appreciated. The Cabramatta Moon Festival is expected to draw more than 90,000 visitors and offers a full day of festivities, which includes culinary delights, fireworks, live performances, cooking demonstrations and much more. The moon festival is an opportunity for families and friends to reunite; enjoy good food and share moon cakes. Oriental Merchant’s range of products will also feature and participate in this year’s festival.
If you’re in the area, head down to Cabramatta and enjoy everything the annual moon festival has to offer. The event starts at 11:00am and ends with a fireworks display at 8:00pm.
For more information, please check the Fairfield City Council website

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