Koon Yew Yin's Blog

Author: Koon Yew Yin   |   Latest post: Wed, 27 Oct 2021, 9:06 AM


The Legend of the Chinese Mooncake - Koon Yew Yin

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Today is Moon Cake festival. As many people do not know the history of the moon cake, you may like to read my article herewith. 


The fable of Moon Goddess Chang’e is an integral one during the Chinese Moon Festival. It is the tale of an ancient hero Hou Yi—a heroic archer—who shoots down nine of ten suns during a disastrous year when ten suns arose at once (and you thought this summer was sweltering). In one telling of the legend, Yi becomes corrupted and tyrannical from his new power and is offered an elixir of immortality. However, his wife Chang’e, fearful for her people of an immortal and cruel king, steals the potion, drinks it herself, and escapes to the moon. The furious Yi shoots arrows at her as she flies moonward but does not strike his target. Now she resides on the moon as its goddess and is celebrated every moon festival.

The next two weeks is a celebration of the annual Chinese Moon Festival and tradition of eating and gifting mooncakes. These special pastries are the center piece of the holiday and an important part of Chinese culture dating back as early as 1600 B.C. when the cake was dubbed “teacher’s cake” and constructed with the signature thin layer of crust that encases a filling.


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Sslee The Mid-Autumn Festival (simplified Chinese: 中秋节; traditional Chinese: 中秋節), also known as Moon Festival or Mooncake Festival, is a traditional Chinese festival celebrated by many East and Southeast Asian countries and regions. It is the second-most important holiday after Chinese New Year with a history dating back over 3,000 years, when the Emperor of China worshipped the moon for bountiful harvests.
21/09/2021 10:51 PM
Sslee When you live in countries with four seasons: spring, summer, fall, and winter. Then you need to cultivate the land in spring and harvest the land in fall.
21/09/2021 11:02 PM
Sslee Thanksgiving, to give thanks for the harvest and offerings are also made to a more well-known lunar deity, Chang'e, known as the Moon Goddess of Immortality. The myths associated with Chang'e explain the origin of moon worship during this day. One version of the story is as follows, as described in Lihui Yang's Handbook of Chinese Mythology:[16]

In the ancient past, there was a hero named Hou Yi who was excellent at archery. His wife was Chang'e. One year, the ten suns rose in the sky together, causing great disaster to the people. Yi shot down nine of the suns and left only one to provide light. An immortal admired Yi and sent him the elixir of immortality. Yi did not want to leave Chang'e and be immortal without her, so he let Chang'e keep the elixir. However, Peng Meng, one of his apprentices, knew this secret. So, on the fifteenth of August in the Chinese lunisolar calendar, when Yi went hunting, Peng Meng broke into Yi's house and forced Chang'e to give the elixir to him. Chang'e refused to do so. Instead, she swallowed it and flew into the sky. Since she loved her husband and hoped to live nearby, she chose the moon for her residence. When Yi came back and learned what had happened, he felt so sad that he displayed the fruits and cakes Chang'e liked in the yard and gave sacrifices to his wife. People soon learned about these activities, and since they also were sympathetic to Chang'e they participated in these sacrifices with Yi.

“when people learned of this story, they burnt incense on a long altar and prayed to Chang'e, now the goddess of the moon, for luck and safety. The custom of praying to the moon on Mid-Autumn Day has been handed down for thousands of years since that time
21/09/2021 11:26 PM
Tobby The moon has always been China territory since ancient times! Worry not! Soon, China will set up base on the moon! Soon, we can sit and eat mooncake on moon itself!
21/09/2021 11:48 PM
PSAi3alert The original Taishi cake probably did not contain any filling.

Fillings were added only during the Han Dynasty and the cake was renamed to Hubing.

It was Yang Guifei who renamed the cake to Yuebing (mooncake).

The custom of celebrating Mid-Autumn Festival by eating mooncakes started with the Ming Dynasty.

Summary of various public sources below:

1600 BC - 256 BC Shang & Zhou Dynasty
People in Jiangsu and Zhejiang provinces made a pastry named Taishi cake in memory of Wenzhong, the prime minister or Taishi of the last Shang emperor. The Taishi cake was thin in the edge and thick in the middle.

202 BC - 220 AD Han Dynasty
Zhang Qian (200-114 BC), the imperial envoy to the Western Regions, introduced sesame and walnut to the inland, two essential ingredients in the cake that was subsequently renamed Hubing, or walnut cake.

618 - 907 AD Tang Dynasty
It was either Emperor Taizong or Lady Yang Yuhuan (Yang GuiFei) , one of the Four Beauties of ancient China who has renamed Hubing to Yuebing (moon cake).

960 - 1279 AD Song Dynasty
More ingredients were added to the cake, such as lard, egg, sugar and fruit. The taste became more refined and quite similar to what it is like today. The written record of the characters 'moon cake' were first seen in a book of Southern Song Dynasty.

1271 - 1368 AD Late Yuan Dynasty
Zhu Yuanzhang, the founder of Ming, united various resistance forces to prepare for the uprising. But it was hard to deliver military massage secretly. Liu Bowen, a subject of Zhu Yuanzhang, came up with an idea that put the note writing “Uprising on the 15th night of 8th lunar month” into the mooncakes, and then sent them to other resistance forces. On the day of the uprising, the uprising troops from different places got together and fight against the Yuan troop. Soon the uprising succeeded and Zhu Yuanzhang presented mooncakes to the ministers as gifts. It is said that since then the custom of eating mooncakes in the Mid-Autumn Festival was formed. This is an essential event in mooncake history.

1368 - 1644 AD Ming Dynasty
There is a detailed record of the mooncake from the Ming Dynasty: “Mid-Autumn Festival is on the 15th day of 8th lunar month, and people celebrate family reunion by eating mooncakes.”

Mid-Autum Festival became a Public Holiday in China because it has been an important traditional festival for family reunion.
22/09/2021 3:45 AM
cheated Why mooncake price keep going up year by year? Mooncake sellers want to make profit from rakyat?
22/09/2021 6:37 AM
Zuriana mooncake price keep going up year by year?
Economy not good, mooncake still expensive? Incredible lah.

Posted by cheated > Sep 22, 2021 6:37 AM | Report Abuse

Why mooncake price keep going up year by year? Mooncake sellers want to make profit from rakyat?
22/09/2021 6:46 AM
Zuriana I would rather eat at KFC or Pizza Hut. Worth it more than the pricey mooncake lah.
I buy the smallest mooncake which is cheaper. Market forces will make pricey mooncake not very sellable and let the sellers keep their stocks this year.
22/09/2021 7:05 AM
Sslee When a festival to celebrate a bountiful harvest become too commercialize and turn into a gift giving season with fanciful box then it take an ugly turn into buying favor or showing appreciation to your customers you gift them a box of expansive mooncake.

In China the box of mooncake might contain gold bar or a stack of money. In Taiwan they celebrate the reunion with outdoor BBQ under the full moon.

NOTE: Even HSBC Indonesia gift a beautiful box of mooncake to their customers who invest in their investment products and in clean Singapore you can see box and box of mooncake send to your office by your suppliers.
22/09/2021 8:40 AM
OrlandoOilSemiconIoT 但願人長久
22/09/2021 8:58 AM
holely To the moon!
23/09/2021 1:02 PM
周 海 Moon cake is still cheaper than Genetec.
23/09/2021 3:14 PM
empyreal at the very least you can post the source of the 'your' article.
23/09/2021 4:08 PM


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