Saturday, August 11, 2007

Growing up with Mooncake Festival tradition

The traditional Mid-Autumn Festival falls only on 25 Sept but some bakeries and restaurants in Kuala Lumpur have already started making and selling moon cakes. The beautiful fairy tale of the ancient Ms. Chang Er flying to her palace on the moon continues to be the cultural symbol of the Mid-Autumn Festival despite of the discovery of the Universal Law of Gravity by Sir Issac Newton (1643-1727) and the fact that human beings have been exploring the surface of the moon since 20 July, 1969.

I still remember in the late 1960s and 1970s when I was a town boy in Ipoh, there were three very popular but really old-fashioned (by today's standard) Chinese restaurants around my house at No.24, Clare Street, namely Zhujiang ("Pearl River"), Jinlong ( "Golden Dragon") and Taoyuan ( "Peach Garden"), which sold really yummy moon cakes. Of course, the three restaurants also made tasty Cantonese-styled dim sums everyday for yam-char breakfast.

I also remember we boys and girls in town carried colourful lanterns strolling in joyous procession along Clare Street and its dark back lane to celebrate the Mid-Autumn or Mooncake Festival with gusto.

As we grew older, many of us became less fascinated by colourful lanterns. Instead, we read story books and listened to elderly relatives or neighbours telling stories about more exciting legends associated with the Mid-Autumn Festivals in ancient China, includng the popular uprising against the incorrigibly corrupt, oppressive and discriminatory Yuan Dynasty (1271-1368) on a full-moon night on the Fifteenth Day in the Eighth Month in the traditional Lunar calender.

Expo of Chinese tea-drinking arts opens in KL

Visiting a graveyard during Chinese New Year

Celebrating X'mas in Ipoh, 15 December, 1941


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