Culture - Chinese

WP_Post Object ( [ID] => 38218 [post_author] => 5243 [post_date] => 2015-09-15 09:30:17 [post_date_gmt] => 2015-09-14 23:30:17 [post_content] =>

The Mid-Autumn Festival, or more commonly known as the Moon Festival, has its roots in traditions that date as far back as 1000 BC. So it is little wonder that the festival has several legends and stories that has been passed down the generations. One of which is the mooncake.

We know that eating mooncakes is a tradition during the mid-autumn festival also known as the Moon Festival. But, Did you know there is a story of the Mooncake being used as a secret weapon?

Here’s an interesting story about how Mooncakes were used as a secret weapon to overthrow the Mongols.

The Mooncake used as a secret weapon

From 1271 to 1368 AD, China was under the rule of the Mongols who succeeded in conquering China under the leadership of Kublai Khan. Life for the Han Chinese under the rule of the Mongols was difficult. Wary of any uprisings, the Mongols forbade any public gatherings and weapon ownership, even going as far as posting a Mongol guards outside the homes of all Chinese subjects where a knife was given to ten Chinese families to use during meal times for cooking, after which the guard would take the knife away.

Types of Mooncakes - Why the Mooncake was used as a Secret Weapon

Image: Anne Roberts used under the Creative Commons Licence

How Mooncakes curbed the oppression by the Mongols

With the Mongol oppression stirring up dissent and unrest, the story goes that Liu Bowen, a friend of the rebel leader Zhu Yuanzhang, suggested that the rebellion to coincide with the Mid-Autumn festival when families would traditionally exchange and eat mooncakes.

Zhu sought the permission to distribute tens and thousands of mooncakes to Chinese residents in the Mongol capital as a blessing to the longevity of the Mongol emperor. Instead Liu conspired with revolutionaries and the bakers making the mooncakes to slip in a secret message into each mooncake. 

Mooncake and the hidden message

Legends has it that inside each mooncake was a piece of paper saying, "Kill the Mongols on the 15th day of the eighth month".

Why the Mooncake was used as a Secret Weapon

Image: Alpha used under the Creative Commons Licence

Some stories have it that the Mongols didn't like mooncakes or didn't understand the Chinese script written inside it, and as a result the Mongols didn't anticipate the Chinese uprising. Liu's plan succeeded and the Mongols were overthrown, leaving Zhu to establish the Ming Dynasty (1368-1644 AD).

As good as this story sounds, while the Mongol rule and subsequent Chinese uprising did take place, modern-day historians are skeptical if the mooncake plot ever took place. Nevertheless the story of subterfuge and intrigue is still popularly told today and, most of the time, passed off as fact.

Many believe that the Mooncake’s hidden messages are a sign of the modern day fortune cookies. By adding the secret element to the fortune cookie some have found more meaning behind the simple treat. This lead to the act of removing and replacing the fortune inside without breaking for an added bit of good luck.

[post_title] => Was the Mooncake used as a Secret Weapon? [post_excerpt] => Did you know? Mooncakes were used by the Ming revolutionaries in their effort to overthrow the Mongolian rulers of China at the end of the Yuan dynasty. [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => closed [ping_status] => closed [post_password] => [post_name] => why-the-mooncake-was-used-as-a-secret-weapon [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2017-11-27 15:10:08 [post_modified_gmt] => 2017-11-27 04:10:08 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => https://asianinspirations.com.au/?post_type=asian-culture&p=38218 [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => asian-culture [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 [filter] => raw )

Was the Mooncake used as a Secret Weapon?

The Mid-Autumn Festival, or more commonly known as the Moon Festival, has its roots in traditions that date as far back as 1000 BC. So it is little wonder that the festival has several legends and stories that has been passed down the generations. One of which is the mooncake.

We know that eating mooncakes is a tradition during the mid-autumn festival also known as the Moon Festival. But, Did you know there is a story of the Mooncake being used as a secret weapon?

Here’s an interesting story about how Mooncakes were used as a secret weapon to overthrow the Mongols.

The Mooncake used as a secret weapon

From 1271 to 1368 AD, China was under the rule of the Mongols who succeeded in conquering China under the leadership of Kublai Khan. Life for the Han Chinese under the rule of the Mongols was difficult. Wary of any uprisings, the Mongols forbade any public gatherings and weapon ownership, even going as far as posting a Mongol guards outside the homes of all Chinese subjects where a knife was given to ten Chinese families to use during meal times for cooking, after which the guard would take the knife away.

Types of Mooncakes - Why the Mooncake was used as a Secret Weapon

Image: Anne Roberts used under the Creative Commons Licence

How Mooncakes curbed the oppression by the Mongols

With the Mongol oppression stirring up dissent and unrest, the story goes that Liu Bowen, a friend of the rebel leader Zhu Yuanzhang, suggested that the rebellion to coincide with the Mid-Autumn festival when families would traditionally exchange and eat mooncakes.

Zhu sought the permission to distribute tens and thousands of mooncakes to Chinese residents in the Mongol capital as a blessing to the longevity of the Mongol emperor. Instead Liu conspired with revolutionaries and the bakers making the mooncakes to slip in a secret message into each mooncake. 

Mooncake and the hidden message

Legends has it that inside each mooncake was a piece of paper saying, “Kill the Mongols on the 15th day of the eighth month”.

Why the Mooncake was used as a Secret Weapon

Image: Alpha used under the Creative Commons Licence

Some stories have it that the Mongols didn’t like mooncakes or didn’t understand the Chinese script written inside it, and as a result the Mongols didn’t anticipate the Chinese uprising. Liu’s plan succeeded and the Mongols were overthrown, leaving Zhu to establish the Ming Dynasty (1368-1644 AD).

As good as this story sounds, while the Mongol rule and subsequent Chinese uprising did take place, modern-day historians are skeptical if the mooncake plot ever took place. Nevertheless the story of subterfuge and intrigue is still popularly told today and, most of the time, passed off as fact.

Many believe that the Mooncake’s hidden messages are a sign of the modern day fortune cookies. By adding the secret element to the fortune cookie some have found more meaning behind the simple treat. This lead to the act of removing and replacing the fortune inside without breaking for an added bit of good luck.

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