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Mooncake Festival

Glancing through the paper I spotted that there was going to be a firework display over the Yarra River outside the Crown Casino as the highlight of their week long Mooncake Festival celebrations.

The Mooncake Festival, also known as the Mid-Autumn festival, happens on 15th day of 8th month according to the Chinese lunar calendar (mid autumn) when the moon is at its roundest and brightest, hence the names. It comes from the tradition of the Chinese Emperor who used to make sacrifices to the moon in autumn as they recognised that the change of the moon had affect on the change of the seasons and a good harvest. It is also said that the Mooncake Festival relates to the Ming Revolution where revolutionaries managed to smuggle notes hidden in Mooncakes to organise an uprising which took place on 15th day of the 8th month to overthrow the Mongolian rulers during the Yuan dynasty.

Not only were there going to be fireworks but as with tradition there would be Chinese Lion dancers too. Feeling nostalgic about our trip to China we rallied a group together to take in the festivities and there was of course only one place in Southbank to meet up before we found our spot...


....by the bagpipe playing Cookie Monster!

You gotta love this guy. The dressed up musicians are an iconic part of Melbourne and as you walk around the city you can spot the likes of Mario and Elmo playing music to passersby. The bass playing bunny is probably the most famous now after his recent appearance on Australia's Got Talent!

We joined the crowds overlooking the river and waited under strings of Chinese Lanterns for the fireworks to begin...




It was a spectacular display, much more than we had anticipated and the reflections off the water and the city skyline added to the mesmerising effect.


It was hard to fight back the urge to shout out Happy New Year once it was finished...actually I don't think we did!

Once the fireworks were over we eagerly looked out for the lion dancers which were going to come down the river walk. Unfortunately we weren't quick enough and we found ourselves at the back of the crowd who were all jostling for space behind the lion dancers who led them like a procession down the river. Try as we might we couldn't even see the dancers so we gave up and headed inside Crown to see what else was going on.

This was the best choice as we managed to catch a drumming display and we see lion dancing too!


So what is a mooncake?


They are a type of pastry cake which is considered a delicacy in China, with a dense filling inside which can come in a variety of flavours. They have chinese symbols on top which normally represent harmony and longevity. It is custom to present moon cakes to relatives and friends to wish them a long and happy life.

Going back to the Ming revolution theory it is also thought that secret messages could have been coded into the top of the Mooncakes that when cut in the right way and placed together with other Mooncakes reveals a message. Then instead of the message needing to self destruct you just eat it! Genius.

Despite feeling like we should try one they were quite expensive so we didn't. I imagine they are probably like some of the other filled buns we have had during our travels.


Another lovely eve in Melbourne


Posted by doyledan 05:09 Archived in Australia

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