Term paper on THE MOON CAKE: The Festival and Local Mythology

As the festival is the time of family union, the round cake symbolizes the family circle and the taste reminds the sweetness of these ties. Conventionally, the flaked pastry includes many fillings. Whilst every province in China created its own variation, the cakes of Guangdong are most wide-spread with their egg yolk filling – that in the yellow roundness reflect the moon (Kroeber & Kluckhohn 1952). However, once a delicious treat, packed in a humble brown paper bag and shared with the closest relatives has today become an ornately packaged present traded back and forth and usually laden with admiring goodies far greater than the cost of the mere moon cakes. Other Western organizations have also got in on the moon cake industry. Starbucks’ local shops have been offering them since 2005. Six cakes cost almost sixty dollars and come in a special box with a drawer for every flavor, practically like real jewelry box.

An active trader can earn more than $9,400 in two months before the Mid-Autumn Festival. Many businesses start sending out the cake coupons as presents to the corporate clients and associates in July. Generally speaking, expensive cakes are wide-spread as they are bought and presented as gifts or bribes for the officials. Moon cakes present the officials with hard-to-detect appearance. Presenting money would be extremely apparent whilst presenting food is not.

Old and Current Technology in Terms of the Preparation of Moon Cakes

In the Tang Dynasty, sweet shops and bakers specialized in the cakes appeared in a capital city of Chang’an. In this Dynasty, bakers engraved the motifs representing the legend of “Goddess Chang’e flying to the moon” on the cakes (Sullivan 2009, p. 75-204). Established and evolved by handicraftsman in Fuding as a time-honored conventional art, Moon Cake engraving refers to the certain folk art by which a rich variety of models are engraved in cakes to delight the clients. It is known as a branch of Chinese folk engravings for the festival occurrences. Nevertheless, the exceptional type of the art, today under harsh hazards from accelerated economic and social evolvement, fast pace of urbanization and human’s altering living styles, is merely on the edge of extermination. The art of engravings, though being put on the initial list of non-tangible culture inheritance invented by the Fujian Province, is not yet theme to any solemn or methodical investigation.

In the Qing Dynasty, there were far more records concerning these cakes. The work with them was becoming more and more complex (Kluckhohn & Kelly 1945, p. 78-106). There are many moon cake sorts in terms of manufacture locations and also flavors. The most popular flavors comprise salty, sweet, sweet-salty and spicy. Nowadays, there are four major sorts of moon cakes: kuang, ping, su and tai. The moon cakes utilize the sugary potatoes for filling and are tender, sweet and delicious without being too oily (Young & Richardson 1999, p. 194-218).

Whilst in the past cakes took up to four entire weeks to cook, automation has speeded up the process noticeably. Nowadays, the cakes can be filled with everything from nuts, dates and fruit to the special Chinese sausages. More exotic variations comprise green tea cakes, and snowskin or ping pei cakes, a Southeast Asian variant created with cooked sticky rice flour. Some companies even introduce a wide range of ice cream cakes in the local markets. Considering the complexity of cooking the cakes, most citizens prefer to buy the cakes instead of cooking them. Everybody may discover them at Asian bakeries in the mid-August.


The famous Chinese Moon cakes were complicated sacrifices suggested to Moon Goddess initially. As time goes by, humans have integrated the activity in praise of the moon with these cakes. Today, at the Mid-Autumn Festival, humans consume moon cakes to express the homesickness and love for the relatives, and the hope for a plentiful harvest and a happy living, as the moon cake represents the family reunion. The palm-sized round cakes depict the family unity and brilliance. These cakes made in dissimilar parts of China have various flavors. Concerning the spots of manufacture, there are Guangdong, Beijing, Taiwan, Suzhou, Chaozhou, Yunnan and Hong Kong cakes; concerning the tastes, there are salty, sweet, spicy and sweet and salty variations; and concerning the fillings, there are five major types of kernels, crystal sugar, sugared beam paste, ham and sesame seeds. Some moon cakes have pulp or sweet crust and the others have crisp and thin crust. Tourists from all over the globe have to get acquainted with the dissimilar types of delicious moon cakes.

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