While we might be in the midst of spring in Australia, people of the Northern Hemisphere Asian countries are gearing up for the second biggest festival of the year, the Mid-Autumn Festival.
Also known as the Moon Festival, this celebration takes place on the 15th day of the eighth lunar month, when the moon is said to be at its brightest and most beautiful. The Moon Festival will be marked across Asia (with special Moon Festival events in Australia, too), but the most spectacular proceedings take place in China.
Moon Festival activities in China
Gazing at the moon – at the heart of the Moon Festival celebrations is the act of worshipping and giving thanks to the moon. Gaze up to see the moon at its brightest during this time. Savouring mooncakes – no Moon Festival event is complete without mooncakes. See below to find out more about these sweet and savoury cakes, which are beautifully wrapped and presented as gifts. Watching the dragon dances – said to ward off bad luck and evil spirits, the vibrant dragon dances have become a colourful custom in Hong Kong and China. Lighting lanterns – children in China love playing with rainbow-hued lanterns in the streets. Hold your lantern high to welcome extra good luck for the coming year. Watching the tidal bore – travel to the Zhejiang Province of East China to appreciate the moon’s influence on the tides by viewing the rare phenomenon of the flood tide surges through the waterways. Spend time with your family – the Mid-Autumn Festival is a time to give thanks, and that includes showing your appreciation for your family.
What to eat during the Moon Festival
Mooncakes are the quintessential Moon Festival food. These days you can buy a range of mooncakes, including traditional pastry versions filled with bean paste and salted duck egg yolks, or modern versions made with ice-cream, chocolate or jelly. Learn how to make the traditional mooncake, snowskin mooncake, lotus paste jelly mooncake, or discover why mooncakes were once used as a secret weapon. Autumnal ingredients also feature heavily on the Moon Festival menu. Try our recommended dish, the pan-fried garlic prawn this festive season, or fill your table with duck, crab, lotus root, pumpkin and taro.
To celebrate the multicultural Moon Festival at home, create your own feast with Asian Inspirations’ recommended dishes – Tofu Patty with Ororoshi Ponzu, Moo Sam Chun Tom Khem (Slow-cooked Pork Belly), Malaysian Satay Beef, Japchae, Pan-fried Garlic Prawns, and Pad Cha Beef. To find out more about Moon Festival celebrations and traditions all over Asia, click here.