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Thursday, October 6, 2011

Moon Cake, Lantern, Diwali, Deepavali: festivals in Kuala Lumpur

We are so blessed with festivals and public holidays in Malaysia. We have past the Moon Cake (Zhongqiu)  festival & Chinese Lantern festival and now we look forward to Diwali, the hindu festival of lights.

In Brief:

Moon Cake & Chinese Lantern festival:
is a mid-autumn chinese festival that involves buying and sharing delicious Moon cakes with their various fillings such as red bean paste and jujube paste. Red lanterns and lanternsof all shapes and sizes are used to decorate streets and homes. This festival is also a time for moon watching or lunar worship and seems to have several origins.
A) It is said to be linked to the mythical goddess Chang E (Mood Goddess of Immortality). The cakes often have chinese symbols of "harmony" and "longevity" imprinted on them.
B) The second possible origin was said to be during the Soong Dynasty when the chinese were being opressed by the Mongols. Moon cakes were used then to smuggle secret messages amongst the rebels to plot an attack to overthrow the Mongol oppressors. Permission was granted for these cakses to be distributed because the rebels pretended to use the cakes to promote the longevity of the Mongol empire as a PR stunt. Hense the imprinted symbols.
Whatever, the origin, we are glad these delicious festival still survives for us to enjoy in the 21st Century.
This year the festival fell on the 12th of September.
For images please click here:   Moon Cake and Lantern Festival Images

This is still to come this year on the 26th Of October 2011 and marks the Hindu New Year. The various names for this festival when translated means "row of lamps/lights" therefore, it is also fondly known as the " Festival of Lights". Several activities collide on this day from cleaning homes, prayers to Lakshmi and Ganesha, igniting fireworks, lighting diyas/dipas (clay oil lamps) to sharing good food and gifts. It is a celebration too of Good overcoming Evil and Light overcoming Darkness: so an all round positive, bright and devotional day. We can't wait to witness it!!

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