Lavender Moon…

Happy Mid-Autumn Festival (中秋節) also known as the Mooncake Festival to one and all. According to the Chinese lunar calendar, this festival falls on this day in the year.

One legend has it that a hero named Yi, a sharpshooter, lived with his wife, Chang’er. It so happened that in a certain year, ten suns rose simultaneously in the sky and this led to all kinds of disasters everywhere. Yi shot down all of them except one, leaving it for the purpose of providing light. An immortal was impressed and gave Yi an elixir that would make him immortal but he did not want to become immortal without his wife , so he let her keep it. But one of Yi’s apprentices got to know of this and on this date, when Yi was away hunting, he went to see Chang’er to try and get it from her. Chang’er refused. She swallowed it and instantly she was able to fly skywards. Because of her love for Yi,  she opted to reside in the moon to be near him. When Yi came back, he found out what had transpired in his absence and he felt so heartbroken. He presented offerings to his wife and the people then felt sorry for them and started to do the same.

I did not know of this legend but when I was small, I did read about how, once in China, under the oppression of Mongol rule, the people planned to overthrow their rulers. If I’m not mistaken, I came across this story in the Dolphin, a magazine for young students published by the Borneo Literature Bureau in Sarawak, selling for 20-30 cents way back then. Every household at the time had to serve and feed a Mongol who stayed with them in their houses. They inserted messages into moon cakes to inform everyone of the rebellion. The message read, “Kill the Mongol in the house on the 15th of the 8th lunar month,” and the people did accordingly and managed to drive the Mongols out of China. This led to the founding of the Ming Dynasty, 明朝, in 1368.

Whatever the story may be, this is a Chinese tradition that has been around like forever and ever since I was small, I would look forward to this time of year to be able to enjoy our Foochow mooncake biscuits…

Pek quek peah
*Archive photo*

…and of course, the mooncakes…

*Archive photo*

…as well.

Unfortunately, the prices have been increasing and this year is no exception so feasting on these would be out of the question. However, I would still buy some and enjoy a bit for no other reason than to uphold and preserve the age-old tradition.

This year, I received a box of them, Lavender’s no less…

Lavender 1

…from my sweet and generous friend, Annie in KL.

As a matter of fact, she also sent me a box from this same bakery last year…

Lavender's mooncakes 2013
*Archive photo*

This bakery, that has an outlet at Mid Valley in KL, has very high standards as far as their products are concerned…

Lavender 2

I have tried their layer cake before…

Lavender's layer cake
*Archive photo*

…and needless to say, they were indeed very good.

This being a scheduled post, at the time of writing, I have not cut any to enjoy yet…

Lavender mooncakes 2014

…but when I finally get down to it, hopefully, I will remember to take some photographs to share in a later post.

In the meantime, I do hope you will all enjoy eating yours at your end. Any grand dinner planned for tonight?