Saturday, September 06, 2008

Mooncake Festival in Kuala Lumpur

The Mooncake Festival, otherwise known as the Mid Autumn Festival in a grander name, is celebrated on the eighth lunar month in the Chinese Lunar Calendar.

The celebration comes on the heels of the Hungry Ghost Festival, which is the Seventh Month of the Chinese Lunar Calendar. While the latter is one month the Chinese considered inauspicious, the Eight Month is considered very auspicious, particularly on the Fifteenth Day.

Garfield immortalised in a lantern!

On that day, it is believed that the moon is at its loveliest and largest, and it is also the day the Chinese give thanks to the Goddess of the Moon for a bountiful harvest.

During this time, the Chinese plan all sorts of auspicious events, especially weddings, and particularly on the Fifteenth Day.

The Mooncake Festival, also known among the Cantonese as the Chung Chow Cheet (Mid Autumn Festival), is actually celebrated from the first day of the eighth month to the fifteenth day. During the final day of celebration, the Chinese will hold feasts outdoors and enjoy mooncakes. Children will also be allowed to sleep late that night to enjoy the full moon and in villages, even today, they go around the neighbourhood parading paper lanterns.

Superman lantern.

The pictures you see here are lanterns of various types, ranging from the candle-lit glass paper lanterns to battery powered types. These range from RM3 (USD1) to RM10 (USD3).

Plastic mouse shaped lantern with music. These are battery powered.

Although traditional lanterns, ie the paper made ones, are not easy to find in cities, rural sundry shops stock them and they are quite a sight to watch during the day. There are lots of designs although traditional ones sport mythical creatures such as the unicorn or dragon. Today, you find comic characters and cartoon superheroes instead.

Accordion lantern carrying a cartoon superhero.

Mooncakes are rice flour cakes with sweet fillings such as red bean paste or lotus paste for the cheaper ones. More expensive ones contain mixed nuts and salted egg yolks and even meat stuffed within.

This one is expensive, just look at the metal box in which the four mooncakes are kept in.

The cheaper ones, only a fraction of the price of the metal box packaged one above.

Mooncakes range from RM5 a pack of four for cheap ones to RM50 per box of four of expensive ones. Of course, it is easy to discern the more expensive by looking at the packaging - more expensive ones have grander, usually metal, packaging boxes.

Plain rice flour mooncake. This one does not contain any filling. It is not eaten either. It is usually used as a prayer item among offerings to the Goddess of the Moon.

1 comment:

tean said...

arriving from London UK in 2 weeks to visit KL & Penang. Send me yr charges / details as full tour guide and what is inclusive for 12 days. plz send photo too.