Monday, September 16, 2013

Mid-Autumn Festival (Mooncake Festival)

We are getting ready to celebrate Mid-Autumn Festival this week.  All Chinese festivals are based on the lunar calendar.  The 15th day of the 8th month is called Mid-Autumn.

For most expats I think Mid-Autumn Festival is lovely called Mooncake Festival because of the tradition of eating and giving mooncakes during the festival.

Mooncakes are a round pastry, about 3" in diameter with an inside filling, traditional of red bean paste, and/or a salted duck yolk but more recently they are made with many different yummy, and sweeter fillings.  They are difficult and labor intensive to make so most everyone buys them in the stores.  They typically sell for a moderate priced box of 4-6, for $40, they aren't cheap.

Out in the expat community I've seen Starbucks and Mrs. Fields getting into the festival with their own take of mooncakes, coffee flavor and cookie filled, respectively.  Pretty funny.

Here is a box that we were given for the holiday with 6 and an individually wrapped mooncake.

One of the French style pastry shops in Beijing is offering a fruit jelly filled mooncake, those are what I am most excited to try this year.

Happy Mid-Autumn Festival everyone!


  1. Looks good, and beautiful!! What's the Hilton Brochure from?

    1. Beth that isn't a brochure, it is the box from the moon cakes.

  2. Hello Shanna, i was wondering if you could help me with some more insight about your comment about the AQI. I'm thinking of moving from the US to Beijing with my wife and two kids (6 and 3 yrs). I read that a week there is like smoking a cigarette. Could you advise what are the the things to consider and the impact youve seen with your family and others? Beijing is an awesome place, but the only thing holding me back is what I've been reading about the pollution with the coughing, headaches, etc. thanks!

    1. Hello, sorry the late reply, I had replied days ago and I guess the blogger app ate my reply. I think the AQI above 300 and being out in the air without protection for a few hours is like smoking 1/16 of a cigarette. That said, we have 8 air purifiers in our home, our school choice was partially based on how serious the school took the air (we walked out of an international school that had no air purifiers), and if the AQI is over 200 we wear masks outside. We modify our activity based on the air. On the opposite side is the people that pay no attention to air purifiers, have their windows open all the time and let their kids outside no matter the air.

      I feel it is definitely a major disadvantage, but if the place had great air, chances are it wouldn't be the expat environment it is. We found the positives outweighed the negatives when we knew we were in control of allowing ourselves to breathe the air for the majority of the time, so to speak.

      I hope this helps, I'm happy to answer any questions!

  3. Thanks for being so transparent with your blog. After reading about you and your daughters experience of going to the hospital from what seems to be caused by the air, I became a bit concerned. If you feel its been manageable and almost normal living for you and your family, it just shows that we as humans can adjust to any situation after some time. Would you say it's probably once a week where you have to wear the masks? Life in the US is very comfortable after having traveled to many other countries, and it's fun to travel outside the US. But to live there for a few years is a different story. As you and your family visit home or places more like home, do you find it harder to go back to Beijing, or do you miss it and are glad to be back in Beijing? Once again, I thank you for having this blog as it gives people like me a chance to get on the ground intel which is stuff that preps us with "Things I wish I knew before I moved to Beijing".

  4. Really the mask wearing depends on the season of the year. We got back in early August and had to wear masks (over 200AQI) once until this week. This weekend, it has been over 300-400 the entire weekend, and we've basically stayed indoors.

    Nothing is like living in the US, the comforts, the behaviors and attitudes are what I'm personally used to, but I guess that is the point of living the expat life is having different experiences and enjoying different cultures. Even with some of the negatives that come with living abroad.

    I don't find it hard to come back, we were just gone for a week, and I missed "home" and actually found it funny that I now think of my home here in Beijing as home, even though I still have a "home" in the US.

    Thanks for reading and I'm glad I am able to help, even if just a little bit. I know when I was getting ready to move here, other people's experiences really helped me and I'm glad to help just one person!