There are so many festivals in Singapore we should call it festival city. I think sometimes I take them for granted but they do make life so much more colourful. An upcoming one is the mooncake festival or lantern festival or mid-autumn festival where you can see mooncakes being sold at shops as well as plastic lanterns which kids will be carrying on the evening itself against the full moonlight. These days the plastic lanterns have battery operated lights but I am sure the paper ones with candles were a lot more fun. It’s a Chinese festival celebrating the end of the harvest season. It coincides with the full moon and this year it falls on Wednesday, 22nd September. It’s not a public holiday though and that’s a pity. I am sure the working crowd wouldn’t mind a lot more public holidays.
Begawan Solo is one of the shops where you can buy mooncake. I like the original ones made with lotus seed paste and salted duck egg yolks the best. You can’t finish one of these Chinese pastries by yourself. We usually slice it into 4 pieces and share them. These days they come in beautifully designed tins which generous bosses at the office give away as gifts to their employees. The hotels sell super posh versions of the mooncakes, which come in the most beautiful packaging. These days they even come with liquor fillings and that’s a modern twist. The ice-cream places like Swensons will start selling icecream shaped like mooncakes.
I saw these at another shop in Hougang Mall. These are more traditional shaped pastries. I found the ones shaped like a fish quite attractive.
When I was a kid in secondary school, there was usually a play based on the Chinese legend of the Moon Princess. The legend took place during the 618 AD during the Tang Dynasty. Then the Earth had 10 Suns circling around it, and each took turns illuminating the Earth, but one day, all 10 Suns appeared together and the Earth got too hot. A tyrannical archer Hou Yi, shoots down nine of the Suns with his bow and arrow. He then steals the elixir of life but his wife, Chang Er, drinks it in a bid to save the world from her husband. After drinking it, she is seen floating away to the Moon. Hou Yi is unable to shoot down the Moon due to his love for his wife. It is said the Chang Er can be seen at her most beautiful on the night of the brightest harvest moon, which is known as the Mooncake Festival today. There are varying versions of the story on the web but they all have a moon princess.