September 10, 2014

Mid-Autumn Festival

One of the great things about living in Singapore is all the festivals. On Monday it was the Mid-Autumn Festival, marked by the lunar calendar. The moon was incredible! I love that there is a tradition dating back hundreds, if not thousands of years.
The picture is a little grainy (I didn't feel like lugging around the dslr, so had to make do with the iPhone), but you get the idea. Big, full moon.

Leading up to this night, lanterns and mooncakes can be found all over Singapore. Legend has it that a girl named Chang E was given some magical seeds. She was told not to eat them, but when thieves came along, she swallowed all of them to prevent them from being stolen. The moment she ate the seeds, she was sent up to the moon where she is forced to spend all of eternity. During the Mid-Autumn festival, when the moon is at its fullest, people stare up at the moon looking for Chang E. There are many different versions of this myth - this version was told to me by seven-year old Naomi as we were devouring mooncakes at pomelo.

Every year at this time mooncakes are everywhere. Some of the malls have stalls upon stalls set up in the atriums where you can go and sample all the different ones. The packaging can be quite extraordinary as well and differs from year to year. These mooncakes are from one of the oldest shops in Singapore called Tai Chong Kok
The designs are so intricate. Carved, wooden moulds are used to make the designs. Nowadays the fillings can vary and the big hotels often come up with new ones. These were filled with a traditional lotus paste. Oh so yummy! And so very rich. Eggs yolks are often found inside, another nod to the moon, but knowing that Andrew can't eat egg, the Kwans gave us ones without egg so that we could all enjoy them. 
On the night itself, we headed over to the Kwans. After supper, the kids carried lit lanterns through the neigbourhood. The whole idea is to enjoy the moon and spend time with family and friends. I don't think Aiden could actually see the moon from there....just a little dramatic reenacting. Goof.

They are all holding their lanterns so carefully. A tiny candle, surrounded by paper. Let's just say they all walked to the park.

Thanks Kwans for such a fun night!
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