The Mid-Autumn Festival is a harvest festival which is all about lovely mooncakes and beautiful lanterns. This Chinese Moon Festival is the time for joyful family reunions, thanksgiving, hanging lanterns to worship moon and enjoy the moon gazing. This year, the Mooncake Festival takes place on October 4th.
In China, people were already celebrating the holiday with bright lanterns at their homes and streets before a week to the festival day. The festival is a bit similar to the Thadingyut Lighting Festival of Myanmar.
The Chinese people have celebrated the harvest during the autumn full moon since the earliest record of times. The Mid-Autumn Festival has some interesting history and folklore of how it was derived.
Some said the celebration originally began with the custom of worshiping Mountain Gods and the Moon Goddess after the harvest was finished.
Another version of the story is the romantic folklore about the lovers, a hero named Hou Yi and his wife Chang’e. Long time ago, ten suns appeared in the sky together and people were suffering under the heat. An excellent archer Hou Yi had to save the planet by shooting down nine of the suns and left the remaining one to provide the light. His wife Chang’e could not travel with him so he left an elixir of immortality to her. The power of this elixir was that if a person was to swallow it, he/she could ascend directly to heaven. But if two persons shared and drank it together, they could live an eternal life together. At first, the lovers planned to share it together and have a happy ever after.
But one bad guy named Peng Meng tried to rob the elixir from Chang’e. In the end, she couldn’t fight it and swallowed the elixir herself and floated into the sky as the Moon Goddess of Immortality. When Hou Yi came back from the war with victory, he felt so sad. He made some fruits and mooncakes which were favorites of Chang’e whenever he missed her. Later, other people also learned about their story and became sympathetic to Chang’e. They commemorate the event and participated in offering sacrifices to the lunar diety by celebrating the Mid-Autumn Festival together.
Mooncakes are the must-eat special pastry for Mid-Autumn Festival. It has been 3,000 years since Chinese families have been making mooncakes together at home. In modern times, the bakeries started selling mooncakes during the festival period. Different mooncakes are also sold with a variety of fillings. Nowadays, there are new flavors of fillings like lotus seed paste, meat and seafood.
On the festival day, people celebrate with traditional activities such as giving thanks to parents and elders with mooncakes, playing with fire crackers and fire balloons, and having the sweet mooncakes with loved ones.
And here are some places in Yangon where you can buy delicious mooncakes.
No. 40, Natmauk Road, Tamwe Township, Yangon.
No. 33, Alan Pya Phaya Road, Dagon Township, Yangon.
Acacia Tea Salon
Saya San Road, Bahan Township, Yangon.
You can find more details about these restaurants in Doemal Mobile Application.