Sunday, September 14, 2008

Where's The Bunny?

Today is the Mid-Autumn Festival (中秋節). Thanks to the heavy downpour in the late afternoon, the much anticipated huge moon was no where to be seen.

According to the folklore, mooncake originated during the Yuan Dynasty. The Chinese rebels distributed mooncakes embedded with a secret message to revolt on the 15th day of the eighth lunar month to overthrow the ruling Mongols. I have no idea how mooncake looked like 700 years ago but it has certainly taken its own style of evolution. This traditional cookie is no longer just the good old simple flour-skin-wrapped sweet stuffing, although if you look harder, you still can find the classic version around.

What is mooncake anyway? Images of heavy blocks of sticky lotus seed or red bean paste with an egg yolk or two, encased in a thin pastry, embossed with Chinese characters and motifs, come to my mind. But I must quickly remind myself to be contemporary... the variety of mooncake has gone wild today.

The happiest people during this festival are the mooncake sellers. Long queues are seen outside well-known establishments waiting to throw in good money for a few pieces of famous cakes. Or should I say, branded cakes?

These cakes are highly presentable in luxurious boxes. I often wonder how much we ended up paying for these packagings. Certainly, the elaborate boxes have helped to persuade consumers to pick up some not-so-tasty mookcakes. This is especially so if they are buying them as gifts.

Everybody seems to be rushing to buy for everybody. The net result of this whole hullabaloo is the handsome profit netted by the merchants and loads of unconsumed mooncakes being transferred from those gleaming boxes to the least glamorous trash bins.

Thanks to inflation, the merchants are screaming rising costs and have decided to pass the costs to eager consumers. Looking at the excitement around me, I do not sense that the pricier cakes have diluted the mood to buy. Good for the merchants.

Unlike China and Hong Kong, Mid-Autumn Festival is not a public holiday in Singapore. Nonetheless, some families and friends are seizing the opportunity to celebrate the festival. These 'celebrations' often do not go beyond the usual chit chat, updating stale news and ceaseless comparison of mooncake assortment and prices. Nobody seems to notice the rabbit on the moon or care if Chang'e (嫦娥) has migrated to Mars.

Alright, you have more than a year to digest all the lards in your tummies before the next Mid-Autumn Festival comes around on 3 Oct 2009.

Happy Mid-Autumn Festival !

See Other Stories:

Stumble Upon Toolbar

No comments: