Sunday, September 30, 2012

Celebrating August Moon Festival with the Family

Today is the specific day when the Mid-Autumn Festival or Mooncake Festival, as it's commonly referred to in the Philippines, is celebrated. It's the 15th day of the 8th month in the Chinese Calendar. Growing up, we always used to play Pua Tiong Chu (Mooncake Dice Game) - a game of luck where you try to get the best combination from throwing 6 dice in a bowl. 

When we lived in Singapore, it came as a surprise to me when my friends (who were not Filipino-Chinese) didn't know about this game. It may also be because most of my friends were expats, hahaha.

In Singapore, the locals celebrate the Mid-Autumn Festival in a different way.
Kids normally walked around the neighborhood with a lantern
to scare away the evil spirits (I may be inventing this).
September 2010 @ urbana
Chinatown is all lit up with lanterns,
and stalls selling them, as well as all kinds of mooncake.
September 2010 @ Chinatown
The Riverside in Clarke Quay always lit up with lantern floats.
August 2011 @ Clarke Quay 

It was only in Singapore that I have heard of Snow Skin Mooncakes. It's normally refrigerated and it's different from the baked mooncake that we know because the dough is a cross between tikoy (the sticky cake eaten to celebrate Chinese New Year) and mochi (the sticky Japanese dessert).
Sofia and I attended a class to learn how to make snow skin mooncakes.
September 2010
It's so easy to make and yummy too, that after the class,
we immediately passed the baking store to buy ingredients,
so we could make some at home.

We were going to make some for the Moon Cake celebration with the family, thanks to Ninong Tim who brought us ingredients from Singapore, but because our molds are still in one of our 39 boxes that went by sea, we'll just celebrate August Moon this year for a longer time, so we can still make some when our molds arrive.

Last night we celebrated August Moon (and September birthdays) with the family at Auntie Stell's home.

Sofia napped in the car so she was ready to tire her godparents.
Sharing rice crackers with Ninang Ri.
Everyone was gathered at the bar (munching) while dinner was being prepared.
Ninang Ria with Fif and Lukey.
This little boy was hungry and had other ideas!
Achi Fif walking with Lukey while Gammy Cherry fed him.
Eeeeew. Hahaha, takaw much!
Salads in our family have a really good cheese to greens ratio.
This is everyone except angkong (and me, because I was taking the pic),
was snacking while waiting for dinner. 
Is Uncle Miggy Doc wearing Sofia's sleeves?
Or is Sofia wearing his socks?
Auntie Stell with Lukey.
Ninang Ria and Uncle Miggy Doc exercising entertaining the kids.
There was a cake for all the September celebrants.
and a cake to bring us good luck :)
Happy Birthday Lukey, Auntie Stell, Auntie Ninang, Uncle Boy and Jo-E!

After eating it was Pua Tiong Chu time!

Auntie Stell prepared the prizes for this year because she volunteered to win it last year.
sometimes it really, really takes time, and I think they were only 5 who played.
The winner of the Chong Guan (Biggest Prize) normally prepares all the prizes for the next year. To ensure that nobody runs away from this responsibility (hahaha, seriously, it happens!), our family normally collects Php100 from each player to go to the winner (not as part of the prize, but to use as a starting fund to buy next year's set). Of course, the more generous the organizer is, the better.

Ninang Ria helped Sofia play.
This little girl was very lucky.
She won the Chong Guan on her first turn.
Sofia rolled five 4's and a three.
You have to document it because anyone who beats this combination will be the winner.
Lukey was another very lucky kid.
He won second prize on his first turn.
He threw a straight 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6.
Lukey and his US$5 (among his other prizes).

We're obviously a family of hoarders. Even our luck works out that way.
Uncle Raymond and Auntie Judy hoarded all the
kalachuchi (Frangipani) hair clamps that you can win with one 4.
Auntie Stella kept winning the mugs with Fox candy
from throwing three 4's.
She got three after her first three turns!
This is my (and Sofia's) hoard of lychee frutips
(with contributions from my mom),
from rolling two 4's.
Quite a lot of people rolled Chong Guan with five of a kind,
but nothing was able to beat Sofia's combination.
My lucky daughter won US$50, Hershey's Hugs and Kisses, and a toiletry bag. This means that we will be preparing the set for next year, so people are guessing it might be soft toys (they are asking for one of the giant bears for Chong Guan!!!) or Unilever products. Bwahahahahaha.

Uncle Raymond shared his kalachuchi hair clamp harvest with all the cousins.
This is our reflection on the glass walls.
Kalachuchi Cousins.
The dads slept through all the fun.
Ria augmented her winnings with leftover Chips and Dip.
Sofia walked around sharing her harvest by
giving out real hugs and hershey's hugs.

Happy August Moon everyone! May it bring a bountiful harvest with lots of success and wealth for all of us! Just Saying.

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