Throughout the Chinese calendar, the year is divided upon the changing of the four seasons, winter, spring, summer and autumn. With each season brings upon a celebration or festival, and accordingly, various rites and rituals that are conducted. It should be no surprise then that consuming certain foods was one of the main traditions at the center of these celebrations.
Historically speaking, each festival was originally associated with Chinese agriculture, the seasonal harvest and planting of crops, but over time became to be intertwined with the heroes, history, legends of China’s Imperial past. For Chinese Canadians, one of the most important and celebrated of these was the Mid-Autumn Festival, the festival associated with the mooncake, a fairly heavy and rich pastry that usually is filled with lotus seed paste and salted duck egg yolks.
The story goes that ethnic Han Chinese spies of the Ming dynasty put secret messages inside mooncakes as a means of spreading and organizing a revolt against the Mongolian ruled, Yuan dynasty. Allegedly, this practice is said to have contributed to the overthrow of the Yuan on the 5th day of the eighth lunar month, during the period of the Mid-Autumn Festival.
Since then, the Mid-Autumn festival has also been known as the mooncake festival in accordance with this story’s events. Continued...