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The Green Life: Celebrate Autumn with Organic Mooncakes

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September 28, 2012

Celebrate Autumn with Organic Mooncakes

Mid-Autumn Festival MooncakeNeil Armstrong may have been the first man to land on the moon, but the Chinese have homage for more than 3,000 years. Chinese emperors of old began worshipping the moon in autumn, hoping and believing that doing so would bring them another year's harvest. One that was abundant and fruitful, of course. Finding that the best time to do so was on the 15th night of the 8th month, moon worshipping extended to high officials and rich families whose participation was alongside that of the Emperor. Setting large tables in the middle of the yard and placing fruits and other various Chinese snacks atop, these offerings to the moon enveloped by its glowing light was a practice executed for many years before it became an official tradition.

Beginning with the Tang Dynasty in 618, the Chinese Mid-Autumn Festival was named and laid down in the books as a sanctioned annual celebration. By this time, the practice was no longer for the wealthy, but also the common citizens, all of whom partook in the music, dance, and merriment of praying to the moon for a bountiful year of harvest.

Many other Asian cultures have adapted this practice while incorporating a spin of their own to customize the tradition, such as lighted lanterns of various sizes, shapes, and colors that Vietnamese children carry in formation in song and dance. But perhaps the most iconic image surrounding this festival are the mooncakes, a food shared by all celebrating the Mid-Autumn Festival. Round or square shaped, these deliciously sweet and decadent palm-sized pastries are decorated with flowers or Chinese symbols printed on top. They are filled with red bean or thick lotus-seed paste combined with other variations such as egg yolk, sesame seeds, or tarot. Celebrants bring these cakes to relatives' and friends' homes where they are cut into triangular shapes and served with tea.

This year's Mid-Autumn Festival falls on Sunday, September 30th. And if you're up for partaking in the festivities, do it the green way by checking out Chopsticks, an amazing company based in Hong Kong known for its low-carbon, locally sourced, sustainable products. Its central mission is to educate people, both young and old, about the benefits of organic foods while bringing it to them an at affordable price. With many locations selling its goods, Chopsticks makes organic foods and ingredients easily accessible where access to information regarding food safety, higher quality taste, and protecting the environment is not. Made with naturally grown ingredients such as flour, mungbean, lotus seeds, and peanut oil (to name a few), you'll be able to celebrate with the best tasting mooncakes that are not only promoting environmental awareness, but also better for your health. Or, if you'd rather opt for something homemade, take a look at some awesome mooncake recipes to share with family and friends. Add your own organic ingredients to make them green or post them here for others to add to their palette of moon-cakery!

After all, the history behind the Mid-Autumn Festival most certainly doesn't just limit the celebration to worshipping or praying to the moon, but in fact allows us all to take a moment to appreciate its beauty and luminescence in our world and lives.

--Christine Nguyen / image by iStockphoto//kokototo

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