However, as the title goes, we are here to talk about mooncakes, so let's get on with it, shall we?
I am sure most people reading this thread would have had one piece of mooncake in his/her natural life, however, most people might not know (or remember) the history of "moonchakes". Someone actually asked me about this, hence this thread.
The festival is intricately linked to the legends of "Chang E", the mythical Moon Goddess
of Immortality. According to “Li-Ji”, an ancient Chinese book recording customs and ceremonies, the Chinese Emperor should offer sacrifices to the sun in spring and the moon in autumn. The
15th day of the 8th lunar month is the day called “Mid-Autumn”. The night on August 15 is also called “Night of the Moon”. Under the Song Dynasty (420), the day was officially declared for Mid-Autumn Festival.
Because of its central role in the Mid-Autumn festival, mooncakes remained popular even in recent years. For many, mooncakes form a central part of the Mid-Autumn festival experience such that it is now commonly known as 'Mooncake
There is also a folk tale about the overthrow of Mongol rule
facilitated by messages smuggled in moon cakes.
Mooncakes were used as a medium by the Ming revolutionaries in their espionage
effort to secretly distribute letters in order to overthrow the Mongolian
rulers of China in the Yuan dynasty. The idea is said to be conceived by Zhu Yuanzhang
(朱元璋) and his advisor Liu Bowen (劉伯溫), who circulated a rumor that a deadly plague was spreading and the only way to prevent it was to eat special mooncakes. This prompted the quick distribution
of mooncakes, which were used to hide a secret message coordinating the Han Chinese
revolt on the 15th day of the eighth lunar month.
Another method of hiding the message was printed in the surface of mooncakes as a simple puzzle or mosaic. In order to read the encrypted message, each of the 4 mooncakes packaged together must be cut into 4 parts each. The 16
pieces of mooncake, must then be pieced together in such a fashion that the secret messages can be read. The pieces of mooncake are then eaten to destroy the message.