Moon festival in full swing at UNESCO heritage site

( XInhua ) Updated: 2014-09-09 09:41:30

 Moon festival in full swing at UNESCO heritage site

Mooncakes. [Photo/CFP] 

Although Pingyao, a city dating back some 2,700 years in northern China's Shanxi Province, has become increasingly modernized, residents stick to their Moon Festival traditions.

Moon festival in full swing at UNESCO heritage site


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Moon festival in full swing at UNESCO heritage site


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In a traditional courtyard in the north of the city -- a UNESCO cultural heritage site since 1997 -- Luo Aiqing is making cakes for her family and customers.

It takes only a few seconds for the 88-year-old to shape the dough into a moon cake.

"I have been making this kind of cake for over 80 years and my family still prefer these hand-made cakes to those bought from the supermarket," she said.

Turning her courtyard into a small workshop Luo is relieved to see not only younger Chinese but foreign tourists taking an interest in her goodies. Stuffed with sugar and nuts, the golden-colored pastry is called "tuanyuan": reunion.

Nobody knows when the tradition started, but on each Moon Festival, the 15th day of the eighth lunar month, local people make a giant tuanyuan, normally about 1 foot in diameter, for a the family to share.

"Even for those who can't come back home for the festival, we keep one piece for them," Luo said.

In recent years, the city has been modernized and now receives a lot of tourists from both China and elsewhere, but the traditional Moon Festival has not changed.

"Apart from moon cakes, we also eat dumplings, set off fireworks and enjoy the full moon with our families," said Zhao Hongfan, 83, another resident of Pingyao. He started to clean up his courtyard very earlier on Monday, waiting for his children who now work outside the city.

"People always think of their loved ones on festivals, especially on Mid-Autumn Day," said Zhao.

In another courtyard, Cheng Xiao, 20, has been helping her parents to arrange to the Mid-Autumn feast since coming back from Taiyuan. "It makes me feel so good to spend time with my family," she said.

Li Hanqiu, a folk custom expert with China Society for the Study of Folk Literature and Art said that Moon Festival was particularly significant for the Chinese as a symbol of family reunion.

"No matter how times change, the day will always play an important role among the Chinese," said he.


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