the mid-autumn moon festival was celebrated by east asians around the world yesterday. for those of you who missed it, it's not too late to get to the asian grocers and pick you up some mooncake (i know because i was one of those people). this holiday is an incredibly important one in chinese culture, celebrating the end of (hopefully) a fruitful summer harvest. families gather to admire the moon at its fullest while chowing down on mooncakes and of course, many other chinese dishes.
it's one of my favorite chinese holidays, as it celebrates food and i can't think of a better reason for celebration. as a child, my grandmother would take us out on the balcony and lead my brother and i through a song and dance number she taught us about the moon festival, and then we'd stuff ourselves with all the mooncakes that had been given to us by friends and relatives.
this holiday also happens to fall right around my birthday, and i remember in fifth grade, my parents tried to serve mooncakes at my birthday party. what were they thinking: serving "strange" chinese cakes to a bunch of 10 year old white kids who were used to betty crocker chocolate cakes at their parties? seriously, it was social suicide right there. despite my embarrassment, my love for mooncakes remains. i still look forward to the holiday every year when asian grocers and bakeries stock up on these rich pastries which are filled with the sweetness of lotus and sweet bean pastes and salted egg yolks to symbolize the full moon.
and luckily, i've gotten over the embarrassment factor of serving "exotic" foods to my non-asian friends (except for chicken hearts, which i still stir-fry in secrecy when no one's around) and have every intention of serving up some mooncakes at my birthday party.