Mooncakes have played a central role in Moon Festival traditions.
Once, according to Chinese legend, mooncakes helped bring
about a revolution.
The time was the Yuan dynasty
(AD 1280-1368), established by the invading Mongolians from
the north. The Mongolians subjugated the Han Chinese.
According to one Chinese folk
tale, a Han Chinese rebel leader named Liu Fu Tong devised
a scheme to arouse the Han Chinese to rise up against the
ruling Mongols to end the oppressive Yuan dynasty. He sought
permission from Mongolian leaders to give gifts to friends
as a symbolic gesture to honor the longevity of the Mongolian
These gifts were round mooncakes.
Inside, Liu had his followers place pieces of paper with the
date the Han Chinese were to strike out in rebellion -- on
the fifteenth night of the eighth month.
Thus Liu got word to his people,
who when they cut open the mooncakes found the revolutionary
message and set out to overthrow the Mongols, thus ending
the Yuan dynasty.
Today, far from the exotic and
heroic legends, Chinese communities all over the world make
and consume mooncakes during the traditional autumn Moon Festival.
The Moon Cake or Mid-Autumn Festival also commemorates the
patriot Shu Yuan Zhang, who plotted to overthrow the tyrannical
rule of the Yuan dynasty in the 14th century, and is said
to have passed his plans to his fellow rebels hidden in mooncakes.
Hence today, these moon-shaped pastries with sweet fillings
of red bean and lotus seed paste are exchanged as gifts. Lanterns
of all shapes and sizes are carried in processions. In Singapore
the Chinese Garden is the special venue for this most beautiful
of all the Chinese festivals.
Find out more about
Mooncake Variety , Recipes
and Mooncake Molds