On September 24, 2018, OLMs gathered to celebrate the Moon Cake Festival hosted by Sr. Lucy Lee and her brother, Joseph, at Leander house. This Mid-Autumn Festival is a special time which honors the annual harvest in conjunction with lunar cycles.
Mooncake is a sweet, dense pastry, filled with a delicious red bean, sesame or lotus seed paste, and topped with an intricate pattern which symbolizes good-luck sentiments such as ‘longevity’ or ‘harmony’.
Like many Chinese customs, the origins of the mooncake lie in ancient times. In this case, a time of social and political triumph – the overthrow of the Mongol dynasty. After many attempts to invade China, the Mongols succeeded in the 13th Century, with Kublai Khan establishing the Yuan dynasty. It was an oppressive regime that saw the Chinese people ruled closely by Mongolian guards outside all their homes. Families were even expected to give the guards food and wine.
In other words, the story behind mooncake is about a successful Chinese rebellion which coincided with the mid-autumn festival. The Chinese distributed a pastry to each resident as a disguised blessing for the longevity of the Mongol emperor. Within each cake was a piece of paper on which was written, “Kill the Mongols on the 15th day of the eighth month”. Since the Mongols did not care to eat this pastry, the planned rebellion succeeded and the Mongols were overthrown.
-Sr. Lorie Nuñez, OLM