Well, you see, I’m considered myself from a Chinese tribe, but because some “conflicts” that Chinese tribe had in the past with Indonesian government, the government stripped down many things that “smells” like Chinese from the land, including Chinese language and cultures. Just since 2001 when Gus Dur become the president, the Chinese language and culture started to be circulated again. But After 40 years of suppression, I guess losing the identity has become inevitable price we have to pay. Including me. I don’t know Chinese language at all, and I don’t even celebrate Chinese culture and tradition, except for the cultures where I may gain some profit from it *tee hee hee* like Chinese New Year. And now that I’ve been married, there lost my only advantage of celebrating that tradition. *grumpy sounds* But apart from that, I never indulge myself much with my ancestry culture, as my parents also didn’t do that, and I believe many Chinese tribe in Indonesia in my generation.
But then, working at a place where it upholds strong tradition or culture has its own perks. I work at Taipei School in Surabaya, and they celebrate almost every Chinese tradition, from the most popular ones, to the ones I never heard about. And today, it’s about Moon Cake Festival.
Frankly speaking, I don’t really know about Moon Cake Festival. I thought Moon Cake Festival is the festival celebrated after 1-2 weeks after Chinese New Year, sort of. But then I remember, it was another kind of festival. Okay, this is almost over me. So I will dig deeper into all these matters another time when I have the luxury to do that. But for today, I let myself dig a little into the Moon Cake Festival, and here I got some interesting story, which I actually feel I’ve heard this story when I was a child (no doubt, captain!). I copied this short story from betterchinese.net blog and combined it with some other details of the story in wikipedia, for your comfort.
Once upon a time in ancient China, ten suns rise to the sky. The heat of the suns caused a drought and the harvest began to shrivel up. The emperor of China asked his master archer, Hou Yi, to shoot down all but one of the ten suns.
Hou Yi climbed to the top of Kunlun Mountain, shooting down nine suns. The grateful emperor presented him with a pill that would grant him immortality. However, Hou Yi had a beautiful wife, Chang’e, and he did not wish to become immortal without her.
After Hou Yi was acclaimed as a hero, he stashed away the pill in a secret place. Feng Meng, a student of Hou Yi’s, discovered the existence of the pill. One day, on the fifteenth of August in the lunar calendar (which then become the day of Moon Cake Festival), when Hou Yi went away hunting, Feng Meng tried to force Chang’e to give him the pill. Instead, Chang’e swallowed the pill herself, and she flew up became immortal. Since she loved her husband very much and hoped to live nearby, she chose the moon for her residence.
Missing his beloved wife, Hou Yi burned incense and food offerings which his wife loved, and the practice spread throughout China. It is said that during the Mid-Autumn Festival, Chang’e and Hou Yi are reunited—which is why Mid-Autumn Festival is also an important day for families to come together.
You know the story already had you from “once upon a time”. People love to reading stories, me included. And this story, even though it feels like stretched too far from the reality, I think it’s rather a sad one. And if some people started to create a serial movie from all these Chinese ancient fable, I think you can got a quality movie like Once Upon A Time, which I’ve just finished watching for season 2. But that’s another story for another time. As my workplace celebrates this apparently important tradition, they give out a box with moon cakes, which is also a tradition to be given and eaten at Moon Cake Festival, with family.
Looks delicious? This is the real shot of the moon cake that I received today. Thank God I bring my handy camera everywhere. And if one thing I really know from Taiwanese version of Moon Cake, is that they had this salted egg filling on the center, which doubles the yummy level when combined with the outer filling of chocolate, sort of. Sweet and salt, combined with the crispness of the crust, gives off a crunchy unique feeling that’s different from Indonesian version of Moon Cake. Oh yes, I’m hungry already. But I will swallow my greediness for a little while, to be able to bring this package full of sweetness for people at home. Moon Cake Festival is about gathering with family, afterall.
This festival actually goes by many names. Some people call it Moon Cake Festival. Other people call it just Moon Festival. And wikipedia also call it Mid-Autumn Festival. But maybe I’ll just goes with Moon Festival, as that’s what the people here call it. The wikipedia also said this Festival is about worshipping moon or Lunar goddess, but since I only care about this delicious yummy cake, I don’t have any problem writing about that in my blog. 🙂
Well, that’s all about the Moon Cake Festival story today. I hope you enjoy the day, and maybe do yourself a favor and grab a moon cake. Taiwanese moon cake is more preferred. 🙂 And for you that celebrates it, I just want to say Happy Moon Festival! 中秋節快樂!!