Saturday, September 16, 2006

中秋节 Mid-Autumn Festival

Mid-Autumn Festival (中秋节) also commonly called Lantern Festival (灯笼节) and Mooncake Festival is the one where the Chinese around the globe will celebrate in the 8th month of the Luna Calender.
There are plenty of stories originating from this festival, but generally, its a romantic tragic tale about Hou Yi and Chang'e.
read about them from Wikipedia.

Back in the old days when we were kids, we used to carry lanterns around at night, while we ate mooncakes and watch the full moon. As kids, we were always eager to spot the hare or even Chang'e on the moon. Back then, we had lanterns made from cellophane, paper and also battery-powered plastic ones.
However, as age catches up on us, we no longer believe in the folk tales and we no longer carry lanterns. We would play with candles and burn paper lanterns.

During this period of the lunar calender year, traditional confectionaries will start to make heaps of mooncakes (refer to Tong Heng post). Mooncakes are basically soft baked pastries stuffed with rich lotus paste and optional salted duck egg. There are also 'snow-skin' mooncakes, where the skin are baby colours and tastes sweet instead of the salty baked skin. The evolution of new flavours (eg. durian, green tea, white tea etc...) is coninuously taking place. Nevertheless, we have been overlooking and ignored the traditional mooncake. These traditional mooncakes have flaky crispy skin with the same lotus paste stuffing less the salted duck egg.
The ideal way to enjoy a mooncake is to go with hot chinese tea. It clears and soothes the throat almost instantaneously, eliminating any jelat feeling

This shop in Chinatown sells traditional Chinese handicrafts. Their speciality is lantern making. Throughout the year, this shop will have lanterns hung out and only during this period of the mid-autumn festival, they are lit. There are so many types of lantern, ranging from classic chinese ones to japanese style ones. There are also battery-powered plastic ones with all sorts of different designs, from jumbo jets to robot figures. The lanterns from this shop are not exactly very expensive.
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a reasonable price for such a handicraft.
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simple traditional chinese style.
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good ol' cellophane type lanterns that comes in shapes of animals.
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japanese style lanterns (a very zen touch).
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