What is the Mooncake Festival and why are the Chinese crazy about them at this time of the year?
According to tradition, the 15th day of the eighth month of the lunar calendar is the time when the moon is said to be at its fullest, brightest and nearest to the earth. As such, it is a good excuse for all Chinese families to get together and celebrate the occasion.
I didn’t know about this until my Rotarian buddies told me we had to attend a Mooncake Party as we were co-hosts of the event. “Come one, come all! Dinner’s for free with prizes galore,” enticed our club president.
And so last Monday, we trooped to the swanky Chinese Palace resto of the Pan-Pacific Manila with what looked like three-fourths of Manila’s Fil-Chinese community in attendance. The waiters were busily strolling back and forth serving our delectable lauriat meal which had the usual assorted cold cuts, long-life noodles and my favorite salt and pepper spare ribs.
The highlight of the evening was the Mooncake Game which had 20 of us in a group facing a round table. Each of us had the chance to throw six dices and it was a prerequisite to get at least one dice with a score of four. Four or five dices with the same numbers get the higher prizes. It was exciting since we worked on a process of elimination, and the highest scorer competed with the winners from the other tables for the grand prize which was a trip to Hong Kong. I was quite content winning two glassware sets, a box of hopia and one chichirya. I was happy enough seeing another culture up close and that is the Chinese mooncake tradition.
And oh…the mooncake was really yummy!