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About Mooncakes and Tea - Mid-Autumn Festival in China

About Mooncakes and Tea - Mid-Autumn Festival in China


We celebrate the start of autumn every year on September 21 (following the Celtic party Mabon). On the 15th , the day of the 8 thmonth of the Chinese Han calendar - specifically the day on which the full month falls - is celebrated in the China's Autumnal equinox. This day falls in our calendar between 8 September and 7 October. This year, this day falls today: 24 September. Next year it will be on September 13. In ancient China, during the Mid-Autumn Festival, people thanked nature, the ancestors and the Gods for the extensive harvest and gave the family gifts. It is a day where traditionally a lot of tea is drunk, where the family is together and there is extensive celebration. With a delicious, traditional mooncake and matching tea to hand, I would like to tell you more about this use. 

One of the legends that discuss the origin of the festival is the story of Chang'e and Hou Yi (see below). Another story is that of the Chinese rebels during the Yuan Dynasty (then Mongolia was in power in China). The Chinese rebels hid reports about revolution in mooncakes and gave them to the locals, under the guise of honoring the Mongolian Emperor. The revolution continued and China was "free." 

A Mooncake is very typical during the mid-Autumn festival. It is a pastry with a sweet filling. It looks very sturdy and beautiful and is often filled with thick lotus paste and 1 or 2 salted egg yolks, which represent the moon. It takes a very long time to prepare a mooncake. With rest times included, this can be up to 12 noon. It is one of the recipes that my book just did not make it, because it is also not so accessible. Such a mooncake is certainly not light. No matter how delicious they are, it is certainly not the first time that someone feels a little too satisfied after eating one (or more) mooncakes. The solution? Taking a tea of ​​course.

Some teas that fit perfectly with a traditional mooncake as described above are: Tie Guan Yin, Da Hong Pao and Shui Xian. You see it mainly Oolong tea ... Oolong is therefore a welcome tea during the fall. It is a tradition that should certainly be honored. Social gathering (a lot of Chinese who live all over the world also go home during the festival), show gratitude and pray for prosperity. Something we can do more often in this daily rat race. I am already going to share some mooncakes this week with my Theesommelier students, my dear colleagues and also with you!

Eating and sharing the mooncakes during the week in which the festival is celebrated stands for togetherness. In some parts of China, mooncakes are made during the night of the festival, the oldest of the family cuts the mooncakes and distributes them to the family. 


The Story of Hou Yi and Chang'e
Hou Yi was a very good archer. Because of his excellence, he received an "immortal elixir" from the Emperor for saving the planet. Upon returning home, Chang'e discovers the elixir and drinks it. She swells and literally flies to the Moon. According to legend, she would still live there today, longing for her husband. Every year, on the 15th , the day of the 8 th month (Mid Autumn Festival), when day and night are of equal length, they may one day be together with her husband, who became Sun God. Both the full moon and the sun burn with love. 

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