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Zhu Yuanzhang and Moon Cake Uprising

Editor: zhenglimin 丨CCTV.com

09-14-2016 17:08 BJT

Full coverage: Chinese Mid-Autumn Festival

The custom of eating moon cakes on Mid-Autumn Festival is said to have begun in the end of Yuan Dynasty(1271-1368). At that time,the general populace, faced with the unbearably cruel governing, rose up against the Yuan Government in succession. Under such circumstances, Zhu Yuanzhang, the first emperor of the later Ming Dynasty(1368-1644), set out to organize an uprising by uniting the various resisting forces. However, due to the oppressive presence the governmental officials (which included many searches of people and their property), it was extremely hard to deliver messages.

One day, Zhu's military counselor, Liu Bowen, came upon an idea, and ordered his subordinates to hide paperslips with "Uprising on August 15" on them in moon cakes. Then, the moon cakes were distributed among insurrectionary armies in different places, asking them to support the uprising on the night of August 15. When the day came, all insurrectionary armies converged to participate in the uprising. Soon, Dadu (Beijing), capital of the Yuan Dynasty, was captured.

When news came of the successful uprising, Zhu Yuanzhang was so delighted that he allowed his men to celebrate the upcoming Mid-Autumn Festival with the common people and ordered the moon cakes used for hiding the paper slips to be distributed among the folks. Since then, the moon cakes have been made in a more and more exquisite way, with more varieties, and the custom of eating moon cakes continues to this day.

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