Today is the mid-autumn festival which is popular in Asia. In Vietnam, the mid-autumn festival is called “Tet Trung Thu” while in Korea, it is called Chuseok (추석). Chuseok is a big holiday in Korea when everybody returns to their hometowns.
The Koreans hold ancestral rites in gratitude for the good harvest. After that, they visit the graves of their ancestors. Many Korean friends of mine could not buy airplane tickets, so they had to spend Chuseok in Vietnam. However, the Mid-Autumn Festival in Vietnam is different from Chuseok in Korea. The mid-autumn festival in Vietnam is often regarded as the Children’s Festival. There are many lion dances on the streets while the children are holding the lanterns and dancing. We often eat moon cakes and watched the moon . Some people even release the lanterns on the rivers.
In Korea, on Chuseok day, people often eat Songpyeon (송편) made of glutinous rice. I read on the Seoul textbook that people believe Korean girls who make beautiful Songpyeon can meet their true loves. Korean songpyeon has a half-moon shape while Vietnamese mooncake has a full-moon shape. Korean people believe that a half moon can grow into a full moon, which represents the hope for a better future. However, the Vietnamese regard a full moon as a sign of reunion.
Last year, my buddy named Coco baked the mooncakes and gave me as a present for the mid-autumn festival. I was really surprised and touched by her consideration. I think the home-made mooncakes always evoke more sheer ecstasy and distinctive taste than the ones we buy in the stores. I love to savour the tender crust of mooncakes together with the sweetness of green beans and the saltiness of yolks from salted duck eggs. This year, Coco is living in the US, so I feel very sad. Everytime I eat the mooncakes, my beautiful memories with Coco comes flooding back.