Every year around this time (15 days within the autumnal equinox), the Chinese (since Shang Dynasty c. 16 - 10 century BCE) and Vietnamese worldwide celebrate the Mid-Autumn festival or otherwise known as Mooncake Festival.
There were many historical origins to this celebration - from worshiping the moon linked to women’s fertility, to the most popular legend of the goddess Chang-Er (who is believed to reside on the Moon with bunnies), to lighting lanterns a month before the festival to guide the spirits of the departed to the right path - to just giving thanks for a good harvest and gatherings with families.
Though none of these explains how the ‘mooncake’ came about.
The version my father told me was less popular but a legend more known amongst scholars. Around the end of Yuan Dynasty (1280-1368 CE), the Han Chinese planned an uprising against the ruling Mongols, and used mooncakes to conceal and carry messages to rebel on Mid-Autumn Day.
Regardless, I love mooncakes. These days you get an assortment of flavours but I still prefer the traditional mooncake (brown skin or one with snow skin) with white lotus paste (I don’t mind the odd yoke or two). I have a sweet tooth, what can I say? Maybe next year I’ll try baking some myself. But for now, a few store-bought ones will do the trick - even Mr Big got interested and, no, mooncakes are not for cats!