Gone are the days when we would walk around the park with paper lanterns and sparklers in hand during Mid-Autumn Festival, only to set everything on fire at the end of the night.
We’d throw our candles and candle boxes into a mound and burn everything, and that mini ‘campfire’ we created became a kind of tradition that wrapped up an awesome Mid-Autumn celebration back then.
We would look forward to Mid-Autumn Festival when we were kids because of all those simple activities we used to be so involved in. Not forgetting those fancy cellophane lanterns or the ultra-cool battery-operated ones that played that same polyphonic melody that we are all too familiar with.
It was fun to be part of all the hubbub, and there was always this feeling of warmth and unity when you see everyone else around the neighbourhood park celebrating the same way.
These nostalgic activities are a part of an exciting childhood without the Internet, smartphones, and tablets. And, for a lot of us, it really is a pity to know that such innocence might just be lost in the next generation of children as they grow up in an entirely different, digital world.
Back In The Day
I still remember how we used to participate in Mid-Autumn celebrations every year. When we were in school, we would be given the opportunity to do so with performances and various activities that our school planned out for us.
We were also taught about the Legend of Chang E’, which is actually a pretty fascinating tale about a lady on the moon.
There are some variations to the tale and in one of them, it tells of the ‘Moon Goddess’, Chang E’, ascending to the moon after drinking an elixir to prevent that elixir from falling into the hands of her merciless husband, saving her people from his tyrannical rule.
To honour her sacrifice, the people would worship her by laying out ‘food offerings’ every full moon. The hallmark tradition of mooncakes came about partially due to the belief that it evolved from there.
Growing up, it has also been a Mid-Autumn tradition for families to have a reunion on Mid-Autumn night, eating mooncakes and appreciating the moon together. If not for it being ‘auspicious’, it was a good reason for us to spend quality time with our loved ones. As we grew older and started having our own commitments, however, it seems that this festival has become less of a priority.
It is ultimately inevitable that, as we start maturing, we begin to form our own sets of beliefs. This changes the way we look at such festivals and the traditional practices we once followed.
These Days, It’s All About Mooncakes
For us, Mid-Autumn Festival is now all about the mooncakes—We even call it the Mooncake Festival sometimes.
It may be a little sad that the traditions that made up such a fun and meaningful part of our childhood (and culture) are slowly disappearing from our lives. However, it’s heartening to know that at least one of our Mid-Autumn traditions are still kept relevant to us—eating mooncakes!
In fact, more brands and bakers are coming up with modern twists to an otherwise dated tradition, keeping it alive for today’s consumers
More fancy mooncakes are appearing in the market and some of these new flavours (like Truffle Carbonara) get us questioning if we are taking the whole fusion food trend a little too far. We also wonder if doing this destroys the tradition since, conventionally, it has always been the classic lotus paste and salted egg yolk mooncakes.
Yet, despite us straying away from the conventional flavours, these ‘crazy’ new creations do get our generation excited for the festival every year.
Yes, there will always be those who prefer the classic mooncakes, and we have plenty of those around. But to keep them relevant to the younger audiences (and us), more brands and mooncake makers are concocting fresh flavours that blend the old and new. This is what helps to keep the mid-autumn festival relevant to us today and one way to preserve the tradition in modern-day Singapore.
But what will it take to create a mooncake that is widely loved and unlike anything in the market?
Grab your Mooncakes!
This is what Grab is seeking to achieve this Mid-Autumn Festival with its GrabMooncakes, dishing out a challenge to three groups of homebakers: To create a distinctly Singaporean mooncake loved by all.
The top four flavours were eventually selected, and you can now order these four exclusive pieces—Mocha Salted Egg, Ondeh Ondeh, Baked Milk Tea with Pearl, and Sambal Shrimp – right on your Grab app.
Each box of GrabMooncakes features all four flavours. But here’s the exciting part: These delightful pieces will then be competing for the title of Singapore’s Next Top Mooncake – and all of us will get a chance to vote for the winner!
What’s more, it even comes in a specially-designed box that transforms into a lantern—bringing you back to the good ol’ days when you would walk around your block, lantern in hand.
Perhaps, it’s time to re-live the Mid-Autumn traditions that we used to have so much fun with way back then. So get on your Grab app and grab those mooncakes, now going at a pre-sale price of $72.
Find out more here!
(This post is written in collaboration with Grab.)