Happy Moon Festival, fellow tea lovers!
Story of the Moon Festival
This year the Moon Festival, also known as the Mid-Autumn Festival, is celebrated on September 24th. Every year the Mid-Autumn Festival, which honors the new harvest, is celebrated on the 15th day of the 8th month of the lunar calendar. On this day there is always a full moon.
There are many legends surrounding the Moon Festival. The most famous one is the legend of Hou Yi and his wife Chang-er. Long long ago there were ten suns in the sky that caused much draught. There was not a proper harvest for a long time. Hou Yi was able to shoot down nine of these suns. For this, the Emperor granted Hou Yi the elixir for immortality. Chang-er found out about the potion and swallowed it herself. She began to float up to the moon, where she lives to this day. Hou Yi was very depressed from his wife leaving him, he remains in sadness year-round until the 15th day of the 8th month (by the lunar calendar). On this day, when the moon is bright, he is able to meet his wife once again.
Eating Mooncakes and Drinking Tea
The Moon Festival is a national holiday and one of the most important days for the citizens of China, Taiwan, Hong Kong, as well as other Asian countries. It is somewhat equivalent to Thanksgiving in the US and Canada. One of the most common ways to celebrate is to gather with your family and loved ones, sitting under the bright shining moon, while eating mooncakes, drinking tea, and appreciating each-others company.
The Moon Festival is also seen as the busiest time of year for many bakeries in these countries. Mooncakes are very sophisticated and hard to make. Because of this many bakeries only make them once a year. People plan to buy mooncakes many weeks in advance knowing that their favorite ones might sell out by the time the festival nears. Most commonly people buy mooncakes to give to their family, friends, and colleagues.
The Moon Festival is a time for people to enjoy quality loose leaf teas, even if they don't usually drink tea. Often times the gifted mooncakes will be accompanied with tea since mooncakes are very sweet and are better enjoyed with a cup of tea to balance out the sweetness of the sweet bean or lotus paste.
The choice of tea will, of course, differ based on the region and a person’s personal preferences. In China, popular tea varieties to enjoy with mooncakes are Da Hong Pao and Tie Guan Yin. These darker, roasted oolongs are more rich in taste and balance the sweetness of mooncakes very well. While in Taiwan local tea varieties are enjoyed with the pastries. They could be balanced with some exquisite high mountain Award Winning Ali Shan Milk Oolong. Just the right thing to enjoy the immaculate sweets.
The Moon Festival is a beautiful time to enjoy some great tea and pastries together with friends and family while chatting together under the big bright moon.
Do you celebrate the Mid-Autumn Festival? If you do, do you have a tea of choice to drink during this holiday? Let us know in the comments below!