Thursday, 1 October 2020

Zhong Qiu Jie 中秋节 Mooncake Festival 2020

Chinatown aglow for Mid-Autumn Festival

Chinatown's annual Mid-Autumn Festival light-up kicked off last night. The light-up, which lasts until Oct 16, features about 700 lanterns and sculptures depicting traditional festival motifs and characters such as Chang'e, goddess of the moon in Chinese mythology.

The centrepiece of the light-up, at the junction of New Bridge Road, Eu Tong Sen Street and Upper Cross Street, is 10m tall and depicts a family reunion.

Yesterday, Chinese evening daily Shin Min Daily News reported that some members of the public took issue with Chang'e's representation at the top of the centrepiece, with some saying that she looked pregnant.

Chang'e at S'pore Chinatown looks pregnant this 2020 Mid-Autumn Festival
This year, the 2020 version of the mythical character from Chinese folklore appears pregnant

The baby bump on Chang'e was evident given that the large decorative statue was put up at the junction of Eu Tong Sen Street and New Bridge Road - with its mid-section protruding out.

From near and far, the blue bulge resembles a mom-to-be about six months into her pregnancy.

On closer inspection, the protruding belly on Chang’e is meant to be her knees, Shin Min Daily News reported.

More than just mooncakes: A guide to Mid-Autumn Festival
The Mid-Autumn Festival is widely celebrated around Asia

It's time to hang a lantern, rip open a mooncake and peel a pomelo -- Mid-Autumn Festival is here.

Falling on the 15th day of the eighth lunar month, Mid-Autumn Festival, or Moon Festival, is when families gather to sample autumn harvests, light lanterns and admire what's believed to be the fullest moon of the year.

In 2019, the event --- celebrated primarily in East and Southeast Asia -- falls on September 13. Here's a bit of background and a few tips on how to join this massive full moon party.

Mid-Autumn Festival

Taking place on the 15th day of the eighth lunar month, this festival is sometimes referred to as 'Lantern Festival' (not to be confused with the Lantern Festival which ends Chinese New Year) or 'Mooncake Festival' in Singapore, Malaysia and the Philippines, due to the integral part moon cakes play in the festival.

It commemorates the 14th-century revolution led by Yuan Zhang, who smuggled notes inside moon cakes and used lighted lanterns as a signal to launch the revolt. One of the highlights of the festival is the Moon Cake Fair, where hundreds of festive stalls line the streets of Chinatown selling an astonishing variety of moon cakes, traditional paper lanterns, decorations and other delicacies. Children parade down the streets with their brightly lit lanterns in the Children's Lantern Procession. The Chinese Garden becomes a fairyland of lights and colours for the Lantern Festival, and there is also a range of cultural shows and performances including lion and dragon dancing, Chinese instrumentalists and craftsmen.

In fact, with far too much festivity for one day, the Mid-Autumn Festival is a month-long celebration in Singapore and a great period in which to visit the city.

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Mid-Autumn Festival 中秋节

One of the loveliest Chinese festivals, the Mid-Autumn Festival in Singapore is about celebration with the family, lantern processions and oh-so-sweet mooncakes.

The cute biscuits shaped like piglets encased in little baskets are actually made of the same dough as traditional mooncakes. Initially, they were the result of bakers testing oven temperatures on plain pastry but became so popular that they are now a staple in their own right.

Marking the end of the autumn harvest, the Mid-Autumn Festival was traditionally a time to give thanks to the gods.

It is also a time of year that the moon is at its brightest, which is why lunar legends have always been attached to the celebration. Notably, the story of Chang Er, the wife of a merciless king who downed the elixir of immortality he had intended to drink, to save her people from his tyrannical rule.

The tale goes that she ascended to the moon after that, and has been worshipped by the Chinese as a Moon Goddess ever since.

When dusk falls

Since the Mid-Autumn Festival is about lunar appreciation, celebrations go into full swing once the sun goes down.

Moon-viewing parties are a popular way to enjoy the occasion, as family and friends sit in gardens lit by the soft glow of paper lanterns, sip tea, nibble on mooncakes, and if so inspired, compose poetry in venerable Tang Dynasty fashion.

Lanterns all a-glow

Children love this festival because they get to tote lanterns.

The traditional opt for those lighted by wax candles – elegant paper versions or more elaborate multi-hued cellophane and wire structures shaped into everything from cars to cartoon characters.

There are also unfortunately, plastic battery-operated music-emitting versions – but to each his own.

You’ll get to examine the real thing up close at some of the celebrations around the island, particularly in Chinatown where large beautiful lanterns will be on display – marvels of creativity, artistry and traditional craftsmanship. You’ll also get to sample mooncakes and fine teas at the street bazaars, watch nightly performances and peek at lantern-painting competitions.

Did you know?

The cute biscuits shaped like piglets encased in little baskets are actually made of the same dough as traditional mooncakes. Initially, they were the result of bakers testing oven temperatures on plain pastry but became so popular that they are now a staple in their own right.

Mad about mooncakes

Without a doubt, mooncakes are the main highlight of the Mid-Autumn Festival. Legend has it that they helped to free Yuan China from Mongol rule, after rebels organised an uprising by passing messages hidden in these seasonal sweets. Today, you’ll find them in many varieties, from the traditional with lotus seed paste and egg yolk, to snowskin versions filled with everything from chocolate to champagne truffle. They are best enjoyed with a strong, palate-cleansing cup of Chinese tea.

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Moon cake: Traditional dessert during China's Mid-Autumn Festival

A baker makes moon cakes at a bakery in the Tangqi ancient town in Hangzhou, capital of east China's Zhejiang Province, Sept. 29, 2017.

Moon cake is Chinese people's traditional dessert during the Mid-Autumn Festival, which falls on the 15th day of the 8th month of the Chinese lunar calendar, or Oct. 4 this year.

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Mooncake is a symbol of family reunion for its round shape.

Pomelo is not only round in shape, its Chinese name, you zi, is also a homophone for words that mean "bless the son."
Image result for nuts eaten during mid-autumn festival
The tradition of eating taro on Mid-Autumn Festival dates back to the Qing Dynasty (1644-1911) but the meaning of eating taro differs from different Chinese regions. One of them believes that eating taro during Mid-Autumn Festival can ward off the evil spirits.
Related image
Water Caltrop - A Kind of Nut Boiled and Eaten with Mooncakes

Tuesday, 29 September 2020

Tips for Avoiding Food Poisoning Gallery

Always Wash Your Hands

Food poisoning can be painful, exhausting, and honestly disgusting. The worst part about food poisoning is that once you get it, there’s not much you can do. For hours or days or however long it takes for the offending morsel to leave your system, you’re out of commission — sipping electrolytes on your couch with a bucket in hand.

“Food poisoning” is a blanket term for any form of illness that results from eating expired or contaminated food. Food can become contaminated with bacteria such as E. coli, viruses such as hepatitis, and even some forms of parasites. Symptoms vary, but common experiences include fever, aches, pains, vomiting, and frequent trips to the bathroom.

Some extreme cases of food poisoning can result in a hospital visit or even death — but these cases often involve other interfering factors, such as an already poor state of health or effects of dehydration. If you do get food poisoning, it’s crucial to stay hydrated. Other tactics for surviving the onslaught of illness include eating simple, unseasoned staple foods such as bread and rice and avoiding substances like dairy, caffeine, and alcohol. You should also take care to eat slowly, so you can gauge your stomach’s reaction to the food before it’s too late.

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