The Mid-Autumn Festival, also known as the Moon Festival or Mooncake Festival, is a major traditional festival recognized by many East and Southeast Asian countries including China, Taiwan, Korea, Japan, Singapore, Vietnam, Cambodia, Malaysia, Indonesia, Thailand, and the Philippines. The Mid-Autumn Festival is held on the 15th day of the eighth lunar month, this year the festival falls on September 21st. How this joyful event is celebrated differs from country to country.
For example, in South Korea, the Mid-Autumn Festival; which is called Chuseok, is essentially the Korean equivalent to American Thanksgiving and is spread across three days. In Vietnam, it’s called the “Children’s Festival” and young children carry lanterns as they feast on mooncakes and watch lion dances. While the activities may differ from one culture to the next, the biggest commonality is the use of specific foods for celebrations.
Here are some traditional foods are eaten for the Mid-Autumn Festival:
Small round cakes with a thick pastry shell filled with a variety of different ingredients; such as egg yolk, nuts, lotus seed paste, red bean paste, and fruit. Like the full moon, round mooncakes symbolize family and harmony.
The English translation for Pumpkin comes from Chinese 南瓜, “Southern Melon”; from the folklore of a daughter who found a pumpkin in the Southern Mountains that she fed to her dying parents, which helped restore them to health. Eating pumpkins at the Mid-Autumn Festival is thought to bring health and longevity.
Similar to Jewish culture, pomegranates are viewed as a sign of fertility. The many seeds of a pomegranate symbolize new life and the red color of the fruit is believed to bring good fortune.
Like a pomegranate, the seeds of a watermelon symbolize fertility and the round shape symbolizes family reunion.
In Mandarin, “pear” is homophonous with “separate”, both pronounced as “li”. One tradition of the Mid-Autumn festival is to eat pears to symbolize the desire to avoid separation and to imply a desire to reunite with people.
Mid-Autumn Festival is a great time for celebrating family, friends, and good fortune. Many traditional Mid-Autumn Festival foods can be bought or recipes can be created using products right here at NetCost Market or in any of our physical stores.