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Customs of Hakka Ethnic People on Mid-autumn Day


09:32, October 21, 2011

Hakka people's customs, such as eating mooncakes and admiring the full moon, are almost identical to those in other places of our country. Hakka call it "Eighth Month Festival" or "Mid Eighth Month".

When the full moon rises on Mid-Autumn Festival night, Hakka people will place mooncakes, peanuts and pomelos to prepare for the activity of "moonlight piety" in courtyards, pavilions or grain drying areas in front of houses facing the moon.

After the worship of the moon, the whole family will admire the full moon and eat outside. Admiring the full moon is an adult affair. Generally kids won't sit still there and admire the full moon, but chase and play with each other in the bright and clear moonlight, which is their way of enjoying the moment. There is something special about eating things. Parents tend to want everybody to eat those offerings used to worship Luna (the Moon Goddess) first. Chinese sacrificial culture has such a tradition that liberalists often still share the offerings and eat after the gods, so that they end up part of the whole sacrificial ceremony. The shared food, has received Luna's blessings and has performed the traditional sacrificial culture. Meixian people's belief is that anyone who ate those offerings would be "better-behaved, more blissful and propitious".

In Meizhou, except for mooncakes, the traditional Mid-Autumn food with universal significance, the pomelo is an essential festival food, including golden pomelo (Shatian pomelo), honey pomelo or Shuijing pomelo. Eating pomelos has some beliefs attached to it. For example, cutting the pomelo is called sha you (killing the pomelo) which has a meaning of exorcism. It is also said that peeling the pomelo skin off is ‘ghost skin peeling' which signifies the attempt to get rid of ghosts and disasters.

Moon cakes in Hakka regions, apart from common moon cakes, have "five-kernel moon cakes" and a kind of round cake made with glutinous rice flour and sugar, compressed into different size. Though the social economy progresses continually, Hakka people are always passing down their traditional catering culture, as well as developing folk catering culture.


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