The leaves are turning red, the moon's at its brightest - and it's time for the Chinese to celebrate the Mid-Autumn Festival. It's a time for family reunions, for moon-watching sessions, and, most importantly, for feasting (which festival, after all, is complete without feasting?!). And at the Mooncake Festival, the star of the feasting is the much-loved, dripping-with-calories delight, the mooncake.
The legends about the festival are a dime a dozen, but among the most popular traditions is that of a lovely 'Moon Lady' who lives in the moon, and whose beauty is at its peak at this time - which is why everybody gazes up at the moon, hoping for a glimpse of the mythical stunner. Another tradition - this one with historical associations- links mooncakes to a 14th-century uprising against the Yuan Dynasty, when plans for the rebellion were hidden in mooncakes and circulated amidst the conspirators.
But the crux of the matter is not whether the festival's a tribute to a lunar beauty or a re-enactment of a historical event: what matters is that it's a time to get together with family and friends; a time to hang up pretty lanterns around the house- and to consume huge quantities of mooncakes, bursting with red beans, lotus seeds, dates, and virtually anything that's good to eat!
*culled from www.journeymart.com