Mid-Autumn Festival is the second largest festival in Chinese culture. If you want to know the stories behind it you can look here. It's always on the 15th day of the 8th lunar month (mid-autumn) so you know you'll have a full moon! I learned a lot about it from my students in their papers. Because of the stories attached to this day, it is customary to give your friends and family moon cakes. These are just some of the ones I got from various people.
People can go to bakeries and have them made with their families name on them so it can become a personalized gift. I still have a whole bag full of moon cakes in my kitchen.
Every supermarket here has tents set up outside where they display all of their moon cakes. It's everywhere. For the 2 weeks prior to the holiday, moon cakes are the popular thing. It's the only time of year you can get them. It's a big deal.
I was lucky enough to spend the holiday at my friend Tonie's house. Her mom used to own a restaurant in the city and this woman is an incredible cook so I was super excited! I went over there around 3:30 that afternoon and didn't get home til a little after 10. We had tea, moon cakes (the best ones I'll probably ever have), peanuts, sunflower seeds and a whole bunch of fruit... before dinner. I got to see pictures from Tonie's childhood.
The pic on the left is a sugar filled moon cake and a bean paste one. The pic on the right makes me hungry! The one closest to the camera has what Tonie said is some green bean filling. It didn't taste like that. It tasted like awesome. The one in the back has a nut mixture. Peanuts, walnuts, probably almonds. Delicious!
It was finally time for dinner. YUM! I got to sit next to her mom who kept putting food in my bowl. I think she wants me to get fat. I'll take it! We had boiled quail eggs, crab, these spicy potato fry things that are super popular here, corn, black chicken, her mom's famous jiaozi (potstickers), fried pork, chicken soup... and more that I can't remember or see in the picture. (Also, the kid in this picture is incredible and I want him! Cutest, funniest, happiest kid I've ever seen.)
Andy came back from his wedding gig just grasping onto the money they gave him. He was super hyper and started going off about the moon and moon cakes. He said he's had moon cakes, but he's never eaten the moon. He looked a bit confused. GAH! He's so great. ALSO... when the locals speak in their local dialect, I can't understand them. I know their numbers and 2 other words, but that's it. Little Andy said something about his shoes, but he spoke traditional Chinese and everyone started cracking up. So I'm hoping I can speed up this language thing and tackle traditional and local Chinese. How ridiculous would that be?!?!?!?!?!
I've had a lovely week off from school. Busy with trips, catching up on sleep, watching too much American TV, not doing lesson plans, cooking Chinese food and hanging out w/ my students. School starts back up on Monday. I think I'm ready for it though.
Happy Moon Cakes Day!