There are many fables and tales about mooncakes and the Mid Autumn Festival. But the most prominent one is of Lady Chang-Er’s ascension to the moon.
Legend has it that the Jade Emperor, ruler of the Heaven, has ten unruly sons who one day, decided to transform themselves into ten suns – mercilessly scorching the Earth. Unable to stop their mischief, the Jade Emperor summoned Hou Yi, a brilliant archer who gallantly shot down 9 of the 10 suns. He was bestowed with the Elixir of Immortality for his contribution. Hou-Yi gave the elixir to his wife, Chang-Er who consumed it and discovered that she could fly. She took flight to the moon and little did she know, she was unable to return to Earth to be with her husband.
Saddened, Hou-Yi arranged a table with some fruits and food to wish for his wife to return. While this love story has varied versions, the simple act of adoration has been a ritual practice across the Chinese communities for centuries. This folktale has been repeatedly spoken during the Mid Autumn Festival when Chinese families gather for reunion dinners and cutting open the egg-yolk filled mooncakes that represent the golden full moon.
In Chinese culture, mooncakes symbolise togetherness because of its round shape. A full moon, which is omnipresent in the night sky during the Mid Autumn Festival, represents prosperity and happiness. The traditional delicacy is not just a food, but it has been a profound cultural tradition rooted in the hearts of Chinese people around the world.
As we celebrate the Mid Autumn Festival next month with family and friends – 24th September 2018 to be exact – arm yourself with colourful lanterns and a box of delicious mooncakes. Here are 10 of the best artisanal baked mooncakes Klang Valley has to offer. (Featured image: Intercontinental Hotel KL)