There are two legends which claim to explain the tradition of eating mooncakes. One Tang Dynasty myth holds that the Earth once had 10 suns circling it. One day all 10 suns appeared at once, scorching the planet with their heat. It was thanks to a skillful archer named Hou Yi that the Earth was saved. He shot down all but one of the suns. As his reward, the Heavenly Queen Mother gave Hou Yi the Elixir of Immortality, but she warned him that he must use it wisely. Hou Yi ignored her advice and, corrupted by fame and fortune, became a tyrannical leader. Chang-Er, his beautiful wife, could no longer stand by and watch him abuse his power so she stole his Elixir and fled to the moon to escape his angry wrath. And thus began the legend of the beautiful woman in the moon, the Moon Fairy.
The second legend has it that during the Yuan Dynasty, an underground group led by Zhu Yuan Zang was determined to rid the country of Mongolian dominance. The moon cake was created to carry a secret message. When the cake was opened and the message read, an uprising was unleashed which successfully routed the Mongolians. It happened at the time of the full moon, which, some say, explains why mooncakes are eaten at this time.
Mooncakes are usually stamped with Chinese characters indicating the name of the bakery and the type of filling used. Some bakeries will even stamp them with your family name so that you can give personalised ones to friends and family. They are usually presented in boxes of four which indicate the four phases of the moon. Traditional mooncakes are made with melted lard, but today vegetable oil is more often used in the interests of health.
Mooncakes are not for the diet-conscious as they are loaded with calories. The best way to wash down one of these sticky cakes is with a cup of Chinese tea, especially Jasmine or Chrysanthemum tea, which aids the digestion.
关于吃月饼这个传统的来历有2个传说。1个是唐朝的神话故事，说的是当时地球被十个太阳包围着。有一天十个太阳同时出现在天空中，巨大的热量几乎把地球烤焦 了。多亏一位名叫后羿的神箭手射下了九个太阳，地球才被保住。为了奖励后羿，王母娘娘赐给后羿1种长生不老药，但是王母警告他必须正当使用。然而后羿没有 理会王母娘娘的警告，他被名利冲昏了头脑，变成了1个暴君。后羿美丽的妻子嫦娥对他的暴行再也不能袖手旁观，于是她偷走了后羿的长生不老药，飞到月亮上逃 避后羿的狂怒。从此就有了关于月宫仙子嫦娥，这个月亮上的美丽女人的传说。