The Mid-Autumn Festival is held on the 15th day of the 8th lunar month, and traditionally celebrates the successful harvest. It is an opportunity for the whole family to come together and enjoy delicious mooncakes while lighting lanterns and watching the full moon.
One story surrounding the mid-autumn festival is that of Chang’e, the wife of archer Hou Yi. One year, 10 suns rose in the sky, causing crops to burn and people to die. Hou Yi shot down nine of the suns, becoming a national hero and winning the elixir of immortality from an admiring immortal. However, an apprentice tried to steal the elixir so Chang’e was forced to drink it to keep it safe, flying into the sky to live on the moon. Her husband missed her so much he gave sacrifices of food under the lanterns in their yard.
An alternative version of the story has Hou Yi as the villain, forcing Chang’e to decide to take the elixir herself to prevent the world being tormented by an immortal evil king. The people then gave sacrifices to Chang’e to thank her for saving them.
Our au pairs learnt the art of mooncake (月饼) baking, starting with folding the sweet red bean paste filling inside the pastry crust.
These balls are then pressed into moulds to form the characteristic round shape.
Our Shenzhen au pairs quickly grasped the challenging technique, expertly folding and pressing their mooncakes into beautiful shapes!
While they waited for the mooncakes to be cooked, the au pairs enjoyed cutting out simple paper lanterns. They enjoyed practicing their Chinese writing skills and decorating with various accessories!
Red is seen as a very lucky colour in China, so during festivals red paper lanterns are hung up everywhere.