Sunday was the day of the Mid-Autumn Festival, a traditional celebration held around the time of the autumn equinox. The main activity seems to be consuming large quantities of 月饼 (mooncakes); in fact this is so ubiquitous that many call the festival ‘Mooncake Day.’ I rather like this unpretentious recognition of the real meaning of the occasion, and propose that Easter Sunday is renamed ‘Chocolate Egg Day.’
The typical mooncake is a bizarre hybrid of a Scotch egg and a treacle tart. Specifically, a layer of soft, chewy pastry covers a sweet, gloopy substance, and within the gloop hides a salty egg yolk (the ‘moon’). The filling can be fruit-flavoured, lotus-flavoured, or even beef or pork flavoured. Not all contain yolks, and some are altogether different; pictured below is a greasy one with flaky pastry and a nut/herb mixture inside, alongside three of its more common brethren. See the Wikipedia article for a full treatment.
After Mooncake Day came China’s National Day, which commemorates the founding of the People’s Republic of China on the 1st of October, 1949. Attached to National Day is a week-long public holiday, which is nice timing for me as it gives me a chance to assess my Chinese learning so far, do some lesson planning (I’m teaching a few periods of English a week) and catch up on blogging! With that in mind, you can expect to see a post about my visit to Hengshan – ‘one of the five most beautiful mountains in China’ – and perhaps some thoughts on studying, teaching and settling in later in the week.