The Chinese invented tea, printing, and chopsticks, but they didn’t invent the Mid-Autumn Festival. While it’s true that the Chinese were one of the earliest cultures to celebrate the harvest moon, other cultures around the world independently developed their own harvest moon traditions.
Jewish Diaspora: Israelis and observant Jews around the world celebrate the Festival of Sukkot. This day commemorates the 42 years when the children of Israel were wandering in the desert, and no work is permitted on the first or second day of the holiday. There are no explicit rules about what should be eaten, but stuffed foods are very common.
Looking for a stuffed food from the Middle East? There’s nothing better than a Durum Doner Wrap. Stuffed with your choice of roasted meat, tomato, lettuce, and pickle, this awesome dish from Canakkale will hit the spot.
Persia: Since ancient times (think 500BC ancient), Persians have celebrated Mehrgan. Mehr was a divinity in pre-Islamic times symbolising light, friendship, faith, love, and kindness.
India: Indians celebrate Sharad Purnima, a harvest festival marking the end of the monsoon season, on the full moon day of Ashvin, the 7th lunar month of the Hindu calendar. As India is a very diverse sub-continent, even within the country different people have different rituals. Many people fast during the day and drink a type of cold milk with rice flakes at night.
A type of cold milk drink? Is yogurt okay? –Because we’re just dreaming of a Mango Lassi! Grab yours from Tandoor or Ganges!
What’s really astonishing is that harvest festivals and moon worship naturally came about in so many places around the globe. So when you eat a Mooncake while looking at the moon this Mid-Autumn Festival, take time to consider how ancient the festival is that you are partaking in and how many people have celebrated a bumper harvest before.