Haven stayed in Taiwan for over one year, this is my second time experience this great festival called ‘moon cake festival’. It is an experience that is worthy of penning down for the rest of the world to learn off. My first year experience was more enjoyable than that of this year because I was taken to a restaurant by the former project manager to have a great deal of experience on the festival as opposed to this year were I was just handed a pieces of moon cakes. Please read through to have a better understand of how moon cake festivals are celebrated in Taiwan. The Mid-Autumn Festival is held on the 15th day of the eighth month in the Chinese lunar calendar, which usually falls around late September or early October. In 2010, the Mid-Autumn Festival falls on Wednesday, 22 September 2010. The traditional food of this festival is the moon cake, of which there are many different varieties across different countries.
The festival dates back over 3,000 years to moon worship in China’s Shang Dynasty. It was first called Zhongqiu Jie (literally “Mid-Autumn Festival”) in the Zhou Dynasty.
Lantern Festival Moon cake
Moon cakes are Chinese pastries traditionally eaten during the Lantern Festival. They are round or rectangular pastries, measuring about 10 cm in diameter and 4-5 cm thick. Moon cakes are usually eaten in small wedges accompanied by Chinese tea.
Most moon cakes consist of a thin tender skin enveloping a sweet, dense filling. The moon cake may contain one or more whole salted egg yolks in its center to symbolize the full moon. Very rarely, moon cakes are also served steamed or fried. A thick filling usually made from lotus seed paste is surrounded by a relatively thin (2-3 mm) crust and may contain yolks from salted duck eggs.
Moon cakes are considered a delicacy; production is labor-intensive and few people make them at home. Most moon cakes are bought at markets and bakeries.
Traditionally, most Taiwanese people celebrate the festival with their families. These gatherings often include a sumptuous meal. Gazing at the full moon after dinner is also a tradition on this holiday, since the moon is closer and brighter on this day than it is on any other day in the year.
In Taiwan, two popular festival foods are moon cakes and pomelos. The round moon cakes are mostly stuffed with red bean paste, lotus seed paste and egg yolks, though other flavors of moon cake -- such as green tea, pineapple paste and even Chinese ham -- are sold as well.
Tuan Yuan Jie / Reunion Festival in Taiwan
In Taiwan, the Mid-Autumn Festival is celebrated though out the country. However, unlike mid-autumn festivals in other countries, in Taiwan the food most synonymous with the festival is barbecue instead of moon cake. Asking Taiwanese people what they plan to do on Mid-Autumn Festival, the most likely answer is barbecue.
A national holiday in Taiwan, this festival is a time of family gatherings, thus called also as Reunion Festival / Tuan Yuan Jie. Aside from barbeque, pomelos are eaten, as are moon cakes, whose roundness symbolizes unity. Traditionally afamily event, Mid-Autumn Festival cookouts are very boisterous affairs, and Taiwan’s friendly people often invite passers-by to join in the fun.
Among the various activities on the Festival, Shang Yue (Full Moon Admiring) or the moon gazing is also one of the most popular.

Over the past few years, barbecuing has been quite popular in Taiwan during the Mid-Autumn Festival. However, the Environmental Protection Administration (EPA) says that barbecuing could pose a health hazard to humans because the smoke from burning charcoal emits carcinogens, and it pollutes the air too. The EPA says, though, that the government will not impose a ban on barbecuing.

NTU-Michael Mendy.doc7.06 MB