3 Oct 2009 – Mid-Autumn/Lantern/MoonCake Festival 中秋節
Happy Bday to CHONG Siong Yin who worked for Kwong Lee Bank (LAM family bank which has been acquired first by Overseas-Chinese Banking Corp/OCBC, then Malayan United Industry/MUI Bank and now Hong Leong Bank/HL Bank), as did his father and grandfather. Thank you for three generations of loyalty and services.
Safely back in SIN in time to celebrate the mid-autumn, 15th day of the eighth month in the Lunar/Chinese calendar. It is a date that parallels the autumn and spring Equinoxes of the solar calendar, when the moon is supposedly at its fullest and roundest. The traditional food of this festival is the mooncake, of which there are many different varieties as there are with stories and legends for this festival. My preference is the simple plain old- fashioned mooncake.
This day was also considered a harvest festival since fruits, vegetables and grain had been harvested by this time and food was abundant. Food offerings were placed on an altar set up in the courtyard and the memories of this scene is still very intact! Peaches, pomegranates, melons, oranges and pomelos are the usual… the offerings lessened after men set foot on the moon 🙂 Special foods other than the mooncake for the festival are cooked taro and water caltrop 菱角, a type of water chestnut resembling bulls’ horns, impossible to crack without a hammer!
Fond childhood memories of animal-shaped lanterns beautifully made of coloured cellophane paper decorated with a variety of coloured glitter. After the sunset, candles lit inside these lanterns gave an exquisite sight. Walking and balancing with these lanterns was a skill and inevitably somebody’s lantern would catch fire resulting in tears. Magically there were always spare ones and tears were soon forgotten and the celebration resumed.
I don’t know if there are men on the moon, but if there are they must be using the earth as their lunatic asylum – George Bernard Shaw