An Uneventful Chinese Mooncake Festival

Here in the Philippines, the Chinese community is usually in a festive mood even a week before the Chinese Mooncake Festival. But this year, I hardly saw mooncake in our dining table.

October 3 passed just like any usual Saturday.

Aside from the given economic crunch, the gloomy atmosphere is part of the recovery phase from the recent typhoon Ondoy.

Nonetheless, that doesn’t stop this food blog from sharing a bite from the Chinese’s Mooncake Festival culture.


The Mooncake Festival, also referred to as the Mid-Autumn Festival, marks the end of a good harvest season for the farmers.

Regarded as a legal holiday by the Chinese, it is annually held on the fifteenth day of the eighth month of the Chinese calendar. This year, it fell on an early October on our local calendar. describes it as

…a date that parallels the autumn and spring Equinoxes of the solar calendar

The festivity references to the ‘moon’ in the famous Chinese pastry in festivals – the ‘Mooncake‘. The Chinese term is pronounced as “yuèbÄ­ng” with a literal English translation of “Moon biscuit“. Generally about the size of a palm and half way thick. Dense, heavy and regularly rounded. Sweet in taste and at about Php 60 a piece, fillings vary from ordinary mongo to the premium lotus seed paste. It’s never a real mooncake without the egg yolk inside symbolizing the full moon.

Last Year’s Mooncake Festival

Mooncake Festival Game

Last year, we ate out at a Chinese restaurant and played the traditional Mooncake Festival Dice Game after meal. Yes, at the restaurant; they allowed us. 🙂

The Mooncake Festival Dice Game is characterized by a group of people surrounding a round table throwing 6 dice in a glass bowl. The players take turns. Each numeric and die-color combination results has corresponding values with all-four dice (all six dice has the mark of four red dots in each) as the highest.

Mooncake Festival Game

Prizes are traditionally mooncakes and hopia while more affluent families give away bigger prizes or ampao (cash in red envelopes).

I remember during that time last year, it was the height of the the melamine issue. Despite that, we still used hopia. We just made sure we got it from a credible melamine-free source.

* Mooncake image and some info sourced from Wikipedia.

All our relatives enjoyed the Chinese Mooncake Festival. Hopefully, we could have a repeat of that next year.