Chinese Mid-Autumn Festival : Moon Cakes in Yangshuo

A short story about our moon cakes making experience in Yangshuo, during Chinese Mid-Autumn Festival.

We enjoyed our September stay in Yangshuo, full of humidity and heat. We’ve spent the days of it mostly on the beach of the Li river, cooling in its fresh and welcoming waters.

 

Yangshuo The Li-river beach

Yangshuo The Li-river beach

Then one sunny morning our chinese friend Sunny (not intended pun here ) called us and asked if we would like to participate in TV show, where foreigners together with locals will make Moon Cakes.

Yes, this was the day for the Mid-Autumn Moon Festival.

After some hesitation, as we not very fond of TV stations and being filmed, we said “Yes”.

Little did we know, where this decision will take us.

Part 1: Making the cakes.

When we arrived to one of the local bakeries, we found a lot of people already busy with making the cakes.  The noisy and very active children with red ties were the main cake making workers today.

The bakery owner brought huge chunk of dough of two kinds and showed to everybody, how to make cakes.  It was easy: you take one oily and darker piece of dough and wrap around it the lighter piece,

 

Children with red ties at work-making tens of moon cakes

Children with red ties at work-making tens of moon cakes

 

until they become a one piece. Then you fill special round form with this dough, push and squeeze it in, and… Voilà!.. when it comes out of the form , you have a ready-to-be-baked fresh cake.

Everybody got his mask and cool cook-hat and began to work.

Moon Cake with blessings in Chinese

Moon Cake with blessings in Chinese

 

The tradition to eat mooncakes on Mid-Autumn Chinese festival has thousands of years in history. The round moon cake looks exactly like the full moon in the night sky and it symbolizes the family reunion.  Click on the link if you wamt to learn more about Mid-Autumn Festival.

In front of our eyes the owner of the bakery made a super-moon-cake, from very large chunk of dough. It had a beautiful image of two phoenixes on it.

The giant Super Moon-Cake

The giant Super Moon-Cake

Gadi demonstrating the monn cakes made by his own hands

Gadi demonstrating the moon cake made by his own hands

 

  Part 2:  Home for the  elderly

But making the cakes was only a part of the story.

After all cakes were finished, they were taken to the oven, and we were invited to small Yangshuo mini-buses,

with another foreigners. We had no idea where they would take us. And only when we arrived we realized what is happening. As a part of tradition, all the cakes that were made by us in that bakery were taken to the nursing home. And our role was to present then to all the old chinese man and women living there.

Wow! We couldn’t imagine that the TV Show will take a form of charity act. The TV guys continued to run around and to take pictures and interviews.

The children with red ties from the bakery, now turned into happy chorus , and were singing non-stop the songs related to the Mid-Autumn festival.

Kids in red ties singing mid-autumn festival songs

Kids in red ties singing mid-autumn festival songs

There was even small orchestra supporting them with good sounding saxophone and viola.

 

Happy orchestra - saxophone and viola

Happy orchestra – saxophone and viola

 

Tun have been selected to be one of the main presenters and she was going around the tables giving the cakes to the happy Home  inhabitants.

Tun presenting the moon cakes to the elders

Tun presenting the moon cakes to the elders

 

And there was a man in traditional dress with the bamboo flute, making beautiful soothing sounds of traditional music.

Also a man from the local calligraphy store cam with his inks, brushes and paper and let us try to make some hieroglyphs. It was a first time we could try chinese calligraphy for real, but the shop-owner seemed to be pleased with our work and told us that he would save it and show to others. Of course, only after we take a picture with him for the local newspaper. We had a feeling that interaction with foreigners is good for his business in Yangshuo.

There was a spirit of celebration in the air.

This way , quite unexpectedly , we suddenly felt connected to all these people and their traditions.

We were not tourists anymore, but foreigners who became, at least for one hour, a part of the community.

We set on the table with to old chinese men. One was in age of 83 and another of 79. We even had managed to talk to them in our poor Chinese. They seemed to be interested to know, where we are from, and why we came to China.

Of course , it all was made up for the TV report and probably, some local newspapers propaganda, but we didn’t care. Those old people seemed to be so happy, that we came to celebrate with them. We were told that those people have no families to celebrate with.

We don’t know if we will continue to celebrate Mid-Autumn Festival in the future, but this one we will remember for a long time.

 

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One Response to Chinese Mid-Autumn Festival : Moon Cakes in Yangshuo

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