Tuesday, September 16, 2008

lun jie (moon festival)

Saturday night (in China) and Sunday night (in America) were the dates for the yearly Moon Festival.

Based on the lunar calendar, it is held on the night of a full moon when it is supposedly closest to the earth. There is a legend of a woman with long hair and a rabbit that is told, but I don't remember all the details. What?! You thought it was a man's face on the moon! Well, it's not. It's a woman and a rabbit. And forget all those silly stories of the moon being made of cheese. It's not. Everyone knows it's made of rice.

To celebrate this wonderful festival, sellers/bakers lining the streets selling - what else? MOON CAKES!

Traditionally moon cakes are round (you know, they represent the moon!), but the insides are as varied as their colorful wrappers: bean paste, nut filling, peach, apple, etc. Some are delicious, and others - well, let's just say everyone has their own tastes.
So you buy moon cakes, you give them to your friends, you keep some for yourself (just in case your friends don't give you any), and if you're a college student, you get together with other college students outside to stare at the moon, take comfort knowing that your family is staring at the same big moon and thinking of you, sing songs, tell stories, and eat your moon cake.
I think that's pretty much it. So happy belated LUN (pronounced loon) JIE!
ohh, and thanks to Joni Strohm for the new 2008 Lun Jie photos!


Richpo the Unmagnificent said...

Interesting. So you tell us how to pronounce LUN but you leave us in the dark with JIE? Travelling to China and trying to pronounce this will have us TOTALLY sticking out as tourists! So I'll assume it doesn't rhyme with PIE but it is likely pronounced JEE?

P.S. I think, in honor of your Chinese heritage, you should make some of these pies for your CBC family ... or at least for your dedicated blog readers (hint: I'd be quite happy with apple filling, thank you very much)!

Monica said...

Jie: the j sound of "jelly" and the "e" sound in "mess"; does that help any?
There's actually an Asian grocery store in Raleigh; perhaps I'll get you one of the authentic ones to try