One major festival in China is the moon festival.
It is held end September to early october: on the 15th day of the eighth month in the Chinese calendar, during a full moon.
This wikipedia article is simply amazing and very detailled on the subject!
It tells us that Mid-automn festival has three fundamental meanings:
- Gathering of families and friends
- Thanksgiving to give thanks for harvest, or for harmonious unions
- Praying (asking for conceptual or material satisfaction), such as for babies, a spouse, beauty, longevity, or for a good future
During the mid-automn Chinese people celebrate the full moon and farmers harvest.
This is similar to our french festival: Chandeleur. In France we cook some pancakes, french crêpes while Chinese people eat and offer mooncakes.
China is a farmer society. Most festivals are based upon a rural society. Celebrating the mid-automn festival should bring you good luck and good harvest.
On this occasion you offer mooncakes.
A round shape symbolizes completeness and unity. Thus, the sharing of round mooncakes among family members signify the completeness and unity of families.
Some mooncakes are cooked by bakeries. Other mooncakes are now prepared in factories.
I think the original has some salty egg yolk stuffing.
Inside these mooncakes you have some pieces of candied fruits
Packaging matters as mooncakes should be offered as presents to your relatives, employees, collegues.
You have traditionnal packaging with traditionnal colors such as yellow and red.
You have now some new type of packaging, more modern, different.
Mooncakes is such a big potential that many companies enter this market: including chocolate companies, big bakeries...
These mooncakes are more modern. Inside you have some perfumed jely. It is very delicious as well but I believe this is a more modern mooncake.
Here some kind of almond stuffing similar to french "galette des rois"
Mooncakes are very sweet!
Many people believe wrongly that Chinese people don't like sweet, don't like sugar. If you try mooncake you will know this is not true at all. Mooncakes are very sweet and much more than many sweets and pastry we have in France.
Chinese people accept some sweets but you need to know what kind is suitable and what type is not!
You should eat yout mooncake while looking at the full moon.