Mooncakes are a "must have" in Chinese Moon Festival. It's a Chinese dessert delicacy that you normally can't have every day, but can have every year.
It's for the Mid Autumn Festival, and because of its importance for the occasion, the autumn festival is also called the moon cake fesitval.
Not every kind of food we eat has historical meanings or interesting legends. When they do, though, it seems to become richer and more "tasteful."
Moon cakes are the kind of dessert that are attached with stories. It had existed long before the event stated in the stories, but only came to importance after them.
Actually, there are a few stories go with moon cake; the following is the one that is most widespread.
According to the folk tale, in one of the final years of the Yuan Dynasty (14th century), the Han people planned an uprising against the rule of the Mongols.
However, the reign was very tight. They had no way to pass the message that was necessary to unite the members to take action together.
A permission to distribute thousands of moon cakes to the residents in the city was sought, in the name of blessing the longevity of the Mongol emperor.
Nothing seemed to be wrong. The Han people had been doing this mooncake thing since the Tang dynasty. They loved to bless families and friends with those round cakes. Besides, this year, they wanted to bless the Mongol emperor too. It's a token that the emperor had ruled the people's hearts.
The permission was granted.
Then a piece of paper with a message was inserted into every single one of the cakes: "Kill the Mongols on the 15th day of the 8th month."
On the night of the Moon Festival, when the moon was shining, the rebels attacked according to their plan and overthrew the government.
The result? Another dynasty was born, which was the Ming. Zhu Yuanzhang, the rebel leader, was the first emperor of it.
What he did after he stepped onto the throne was not surprising. He gave out a order to his nation: Celebrate the victory in the Mid-Autumn Festival with moon cakes.A good way to commemorate the historic event, wasn't it?
Moon cake thus entered into its dominance in the autumn festival. The festival is also called Mooncake Festival ever since.
The artwork at right is the first emperor of the Ming Dynasty Yuanzhang Zhu.
You've known the legend of mooncake, here is the legend of the Autumn festival.
Quiz for fun: If 30 Yuan (Chinese money) can buy one high quality mooncake, how many mookcakes $50 can buy? Find answer here.