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Thursday September 8th: London Bridge has fallen. Tomorrow, Saturday 10th September, is Mid Autumn Festival, colloquially known in China as Moon Cake Day. What is that? Read on John!
Actually, Mid Autumn falls on the 15th of the eight month in the lunar calendar. It’s also celebrated in China, Korea, Japan, Singapore, Cambodia, Malaysia, Philippines and a few other countries, albeit in a different form.
Today we look at this Asian celebration from the China perspective. Similar to the Pagan festival of Ester, Moon Cake Day is a “Movable Feast;” meaning it falls on different dates each year.
History of Moon Cake Day?
There are many stories, legends in China re Mid Autumn, but apparently, some 3000 years back a certain Emperor prayed to the moon for a good harvest. Thereafter Chinese people continued that practice every year. Although, maybe a good harvest can be read metaphorically to cover a host of wishes.
When The Bic first arrived in China, some 20 years back, people, especially couples would walk hand in hand under the moon and do what ever couples worldwide do under those conditions. (presumably, eat moon cakes?)
Today, in China’s busy, more materialistic commercialised culture that practice has waned. Much as has “the spirit of Christmas.” Moon cakes today, in a way, keep that traditional alive.
However, in the past decade, Moon Cakes have become commercialised so there is social pressure to spend ridiculously when giving as a gift. Much as in Christmas, the original tenent that it is the thought that counts, has long died.
What is a moon cake?
You can buy them, individually in the supermarket for a few Kuia, generally with an oily, flaky shell and crystallised sugar mix inside. Be cautious; the sugar chips are as hard as diamonds and can fracture teeth if enjoyed too enthusiastically.
If you really want to impress someone with your generosity, love [or wealth] then you can buy a set of 6 boxed, for a mere 2 or 3 thousand rmb upward to the sky’s the limit. Or any price point in between. There is also a booming market for “Corporate Gifts” moon cakes. Luxury moon cakes boxed in your organisation’s colours and logo.
Just the thing to say “Thanx” to valued clients and a nice change from tea sets! We may look at these in a later post. For now, that is our tongue in cheek definition of; “What is a moon cake?”
We do hope you enjoy the following images.
These “traditional” moon cakes ,come in a variety of different fillings; black bean, sesame, Jujube, and duck egg- not shown. A bag of 5 would cost you somewhere around 6 Yuan. Great for serving to friends at home, cut into quarters maybe, with a nice cup of Oolong or green tea.
If you need to make a bigger impression then this rather nice gift box with 8 cakes is yours with change from 400 RM- well 4 rmb change actually. However, the baker assures us they taste good!
OK, we are done with messing around at the cheap end. This durian flavoured [that strongly pongy fruit] gift box is a steal at just under 2500 rmb. Sure way to win hearts and influence people.
Put your wallet away, we are in the big girls league now, Diners club Carte Blanche members only. This collection of 8, “high end,” mixed grain [healthy] moon cakes will set you back just a little coin short of 9200 rmb. Eat them slowly!
No Show Without Punch
What we have looked at today is really the tip of the iceberg, and focused, more or less, on traditional Chinese style. But of course, there are the usual “western players” luxury brands with flavours such as toffee, rose, bergamot, chocolate, tiramusu, gugonzola cheese, ice cream- you get the idea. Images courtesy of JD.com and vendors.
To conclude our prelude to Moon Cake Day we offer this link to an An American woman and an extremely poorly read “video.” However, the supporting text goes a long way to remedying this – even better if you turn the sound off.
Mid-Autumn celebration: Time for festival and family reunion
For a more down to earth assessment and consultation of your marketing needs in China, give Everlyne a call- – moon cake optional! (but TheBic likes the egg variety)
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