In Vietnam, The Mid-Autumn Festival is thought to be the second important traditional festival after the Lunar New Year. Mooncake is an indispensable dish in the Mid-Autumn Festival. How many kinds of mooncakes in Vietnam? How is their origin? How is their meaning? Maybe those are the problems you need to understand clearly.
Origin of mooncakes
According to legend, at the end of Yuan Dynasty in China, there were two leaders of the farmer movement fighting the brutal regime, Zhu Yuanzhang and Liu Bowen. To be able to secretly communicate information and orders, people made round cakes, which included a piece of paper that estimated the time of uprising as the August 15 of the lunar calendar. Then these cakes became a means of communication both safe and effective. Later the Chinese took the mooncake making to celebrate the uprising event. The custom of making mooncakes in Mid-Autumn Festival gradually spreads to East Asia countries, including Vietnam.
Types of mooncakes
Basing on how to make and materials, people divide moon cakes into 2 types: baked cake and plastic cake. The baked cake consists of two parts: the cake bark and cake kernel. The cake bark is made of wheat flour, chicken eggs, vegetable oil, and the kernel made of green beans, taros, lotus seeds steamed, finely mashed, salted egg yolks, vanilla or durian powder. Especially, the mixed kernel consists of many things such as melon seeds, cashews seeds, sesame seeds, pumpkin seeds, winter melon jam, fat, sausages, lemon leaves, sugar, sesame oil.
The plastic cakes consist of 2 parts, too. the cake bark is made of cooked sticky rice flour, sugar water, pomelo perfume. The cake kernel is made of green beans or lotus seeds steamed and mashed. The mooncakes have 2 main shapes: round shape and square shape. In addition, there are other shapes such as pig shape, rabbit shape. The cake kernel, depending on region, has an addition or taking out some materials.
Meaning of mooncakes
The original mooncake has a circle shape which is the image of the moon at mid-autumn night. At that night, the moon is the brightest and fullest in a year. Then mooncake has a square shape or a circle shape. These shapes derive from the opinion of ancient oriental philosophy. The ancient oriental people believe that the sky looks like a bowl upside down, and the earth is flat and square. People are protected by the sky and the earth, so they are very grateful to the sky and the earth. In order to offer to God, Buddha, the ancestors, people often make the square and round mooncakes. Mooncake is said to be a formal and polite dish in the Mid-Autumn Festival. From the middle of the lunar July, on the streets, there are the colorful stalls displaying many kinds of mooncakes. Nearly the Mid-Autumn Festival, people often buy luxury mooncake boxes to present for grandparents, parents, people who helped them to show their gratitude. At the Mid-Autumn night, family members gather together, drinking tea, eating moon cakes, admiring the moon, and telling the story of the Moon Lady and the Moon Boy. What a warm and nice sight!