Mooncake Magic Walk with SWA

On the 15th day of the 8th lunar month (20 September, 2012), women from the Scandinavian Women’s Association (SWA) walked to the Corner of Pagoda Street and South Bridge Road in Singapore where the Hindu temple is located, and gained insight on how to celebrate the Chinese Moon Cake Festival as well as the story of how it all began.

Many Chinese celebrate the Mid-Autumn Festival (Zhong Qiu Jie), also known as the Mooncake Festival or the Festival of Lanterns (Yuanxiao). The festival probably started off as a post-autumn harvest celebration more than 2,000 years ago. The celebrations were devoted to giving thanks to the gods. It was during the reign of Emperor Tai Tsung of the Song Dynasty that the 15th day of the 8th moon was set as the Mid-Autumn Festival and praying to the moon became popular. Legends associated with the full moon were later attached to this festival.

Celebrated by Chinese all over the world, many interesting ‘magical’ tales about its origins surround the Moon Cake Festival. SWA heard about the lovely lady who flew to the moon to escape from her tyrannical husband and the rabbit that is always by her side. This and other intriguing stories where told as the group walked through Chinatown and enjoyed the atmosphere of the festivities.

Offerings of mooncakes and pomelo fruits are made to the moon. Thirteen different types of offerings to the moon, which signify the number of months in a full lunar year, are prepared by the female members of the family. Each offering has its own significance and all are tired to belief that the offering will glorify and bless the giver.

The ladies were told about the different foods and other items sold at this time of the year to celebrate the festival and at the same time tasted some of them.

Later the ladies walked passed a calligrapher, a wood carver, street barber, and also visited a Clan Association. The tour ended at the old bakery on Telok Ayer Street, where the ladies of SWA saw how traditional Moon Cake cookies are made.

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