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Celebrate Shenkuu’s Mid Autumn Lunar Festival

by ptyxia


     Shenkuu is abuzz with the excitement of its annual Mid-Autumn Lunar Festival, dedicated not only to the moon but also to families across the land. Celebrated on the autumn full moon closest to the Autumn Equinox, it is one of Shenkuu’s most prized celebrations. This year, it will take place on the 13th Day of Gathering. In Shenkuu tradition, the moon represents harmony and unity, and celebrates a successful harvest. There are a number of traditions to choose from to celebrate the day. You will be sure to find something to please all tastes!

     Spend time with your Family

     Gather your family for a day of feasting and celebrating the moon! Leave early to avoid traffic as millions of Neopians return to Shenkuu for the festival. Give each other thoughtful gifts and warm hugs, exchange cherished memories, treasure the time your spend together, and exchange the latest family news and gossip.

     Voidberry Mooncake Recipe

     Mooncakes are the most recognizable part of the Lunar festival, but you’ll save a lot of Neopoints if you make them at home rather than buy them at the store. Here is a recipe in case your grandmother isn’t around to share hers.

     For the dough:

     3 tbps golden syrup

     1/4 tsp lye water

     1 tbsp vegetable oil

     3/4 cup cake flour

     2 whole Neggs for Negg wash

     For the filling:

     10 salted Negg yolks

     220g voidberry paste

     Make the dough:

     Mix the golden syrup, lye water, and vegetable oil together.

     Sieve the flour, then add all at once to the syrup mixture. Combine them thoroughly.

     Place the dough on a sheet of cling wrap and refrigerate for 30 minutes.

     Make the filling:

     Wash the salted Negg yolks with water to remove all traces of Negg whites. Pat dry.

     Wrap the yolk with the voidberry paste. Roll into a ball and set aside.

     Shape the mooncake:

     Roll out the pastry between two sheets of cling wrap or plastic

     Remove the top sheet or cling wrap, and fold the pastry toward the filling

     Pinch away all excess pastry

     Roll the mooncake into a ball with your hands

     Mold and bake the mooncakes

     Roll the mooncakes on a flour dusted surface, then place them on a baking tray

     Plunge the piston of the mold into some flour to avoid sticking, then plunge it into the dough to shape it and imprint the pattern onto the mooncake

     Bake the cakes on the middle rack of the oven at 350F for 5 minutes

     Remove the cakes from the oven and brush their surface with the Negg wash

     Return to the oven and bake for 10 more minutes

     Let them cool at room temperature before serving

     Appreciate the Moon

     After everyone in the family is full on mooncakes, herd all your siblings, cousins, aunts and uncles and pets and head to the garden to prepare for the evening. Lay a table with incense, more mooncakes, fruits and candles. Set them to face the moon, and take a moment to admire her beauty and let her soft light bathe you.

     We do advise you dress in layers. Autumn evenings start to get really cool this time of year. For some extra cozy warmth, we recommend you wear a Maroon Winter Sweater or Yellow Oversized Sweater. If you are more interested in style, the Slouchy Glittering Sweater and Lighted Pastel Sweater are excellent choices. Of course, the Autumn Leaf Jacket, Dark Shenkuu Jacket, or Delicate Autumn Jacket may be better options depending on your preferences. Whatever your choice, it is important you cover well. You wouldn’t want to catch a cold on the most important day of the season!

     We light incense to revere the peaceful values of the land under the pale glow of the protective moon, lay out our most precious seasonal fruits to show our appreciation for a bountiful harvest, pour and drink tea in a display of tranquility, and play games with our families in a display of unity and sportsmanship. We recommend swinging by the Temple during the day as well for a little brain-teaser arranged by the Temple’s Keeper, the wise Gnorbu.

     We recommend reciting a few poems dedicated to the moon - she definitely appreciates it. And pay attention to your loved ones - see how the moonshine glistens on their skin, how it is reflected in the gleam of their eyes, how it tinges their hair in a pale shade of blue.

     Make Paper Lanterns

     Of course, there are many paper lanterns available on the market, such as the Colorful Paper Lantern Garland, the Commemorative Colorful Paper Lantern String Lights, and the Festive Shenkuu Lantern Garland. However, we enjoy making our own with our families.

     You will need: balloons to shape the lanterns, string to hang them, rice paper to make them, and water and flour to make paper mâché.

     First, inflate the balloons, and tie string around the opening. Use the string to suspend the balloon so you can access it on all sides. Tear the rice paper into thin strips as long as the length of the balloon. Mix equal parts water and flour and stir until smooth to make the paper mâché mixture. Dip a strip of rice paper into the paper mâché mixture, then lay it smoothly along the side of the balloon, from top to bottom. Repeat until the balloon is covered. Let dry. Now pop the balloon and remove it from inside the lantern. Cut a small circle at the top of the lantern. Attach a string to the opening. Add a candle inside (you can secure it with string or wire) and hang around the house and garden for a festive feel.

     Join the rest of Shenkuu at the Lunar Temple and let your heart fill with awe as everyone hangs their lantern all around the temple. The dark moonlit sky will be ablaze with the warm red glow of thousands of lanterns illuminate your surroundings.

     There you have it, four elements for a successful Lunar Festival: family, mooncakes, celebrating the moon, and paper lanterns. May you have a wonderful autumn season!


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