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When you can’t do without mooncakes

PETALING JAYA: With the majority of adults in the Klang Valley already vaccinated against Covid-19, there is additional reason to celebrate the Mid-Autumn Festival. Families are busy preparing for the occasion on Tuesday, even though the celebrations at home will be quiet ones.

The Mid-Autumn Festival is the second most important festival among the Chinese community after Chinese New Year and is often a time for family reunions.

This year though, large gatherings have been put on hold.

Teoh Bee Lay, 75, will have a simple celebration with her immediate family with a home-cooked meal.

“My four children and in-laws have been out and about buying different types of mooncakes for me and my husband to enjoy.

“Although we are fully vaccinated, I am still afraid to venture out due to the high number of cases and the Delta variant,” said Teoh.

“In the good old days, my children and grandchildren would gather at my house for night prayers.“We would then enjoy a spread of mooncakes, leng kok (water caltrop) and boiled mini yam as the kids played outside,” she said.

Her 10 grandchildren have all grown out of playing with lanterns but the one thing that hasn’t changed is the importance Teoh places on serving mooncakes, as “it is part of our cultural identity”.

For Tay Yen Ying, 24, being able to feast on mooncakes is one of the biggest joys of the festival and this love is shared by her entire family, including her 85-year-old grandmother Lim Ah Joong.

“My grandmother enjoys savoury mooncakes, particularly those with assorted nuts and ham.

“Every year, my relatives and friends will scramble to buy my grandmother’s ‘absolute favourite’ mooncake,” she said, adding that she made it a point to send mooncakes to her family and friends to spread the festive joy.

“To me, it’s a season of gifting and receiving,” Tay added.

Due to interstate travel curbs, some are still “stranded” and far from their families. For example, Penang-based Darren Ng, 26, has not been to his home in Selangor for almost a year.

The engineer said celebrations would remain muted, as with all other festivities this year.

“If I could go home, I’d probably resume my yearly tradition of enjoying mooncakes with friends and walking around the neighbourhood with lanterns,” he said.

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