Bite Into Sweet Tradition
12th September 2016
Steeped in 3,500 years of history, Mooncakes are central to Chinese tradition and celebration. Mooncakes consist of a delicious pastry shell filled with a sweet filling - traditionally a filling of sweet bean paste is used but as the popularity of Mooncakes grows, so does the choice of filling and they can now be found in Chinese supermarket with fillings such as chocolate and orange.
Mooncakes are traditionally given as gifts during the mid-autumn festival which is held to celebrate the harvest. This year the festival takes place on 15th September. The cakes are given to friends as gifts during the celebration and are far more than just a palatable delight; they represent a deep and spiritual feeling of symbiosis and serve as reminder that ‘no man is an island'. Just as all must work together to realise a good harvest so must we all work as one to harvest the goodness of our connections as human beings. These small rounds of pastry surpass the sum of their ingredients and stand as a symbol of Chinese culture and spirituality.
Perhaps what catches the eye most about Mooncakes are the intricate pattern of words that appear on their surface. These tell the recipient what to expect when biting into the cake as well as offering an aesthetic finish to the cakes.
The beauty of the cakes does not stop there - the packaging that they are presented in is also fantastic and as important as the cake itself. Boxes with beautiful artistic designs adorn the shelves in Chinese supermarkets and much care is taken over the selection of the perfect box and its contents.
The beautiful cakes are also accompanied by one of the most beautiful and captivating stories of Chinese legend - the story of Chang'e and Houyi. Starting the story as two immortal lovers living in Heaven, Houyi is called upon to battle against the ten sons of the Jade Emperor who have transformed themselves into ten suns and scorched the earth below them. As punishment for the killing of all but one of the sons, Chang'e and Houyi are made mortal and sent to live on earth. Houyi goes in search of the Pill of Immortality in order to restore himself and his lover to the life they enjoyed. Alone and acting out of curiosity, Chang'e takes the single pill that Houyi has found and transcends to the moon above her where she lives a lonely life without her lover. During the mid-autumn festival, when the new moon is present, and the distance between the lovers lessened, the legend tells that Houyi crosses the Milky Way to be closer to his lost love.
Tradition, love, sacrifice and sweetness - Mooncakes have it all. Dive into the legends and traditions that the people of China are so proud of and come and look at the delicious Mooncakes we have to offer in our supermarket - they are guaranteed to touch your heart.
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