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(来源:英语学习门户网站EnglishCN.com)

Mooncakes are to Mid-Autumn Festival what mince pies are to Christmas. The seasonal round cakes traditionally have a sweet filling of lotus seed paste or red bean paste and often have one or more salted duck eggs in the center to represent the moon. And the moon is what this celebration is all about. Mid-Autumn Festival falls on the 15th day of the 8th month, it is the time when the moon is said to be at its brightest and fullest.

中秋节吃月饼就像西方人圣诞节吃百果馅饼一样,是必不可少的。圆圆的月饼中通常包有香甜的莲子馅或是红豆馅,馅的中央还会加上一个金黄的咸鸭蛋黄来代表月亮。而月亮正是中秋节庆祝的主题。每年农历8月15日人们一起庆祝中秋,据说这一天的月亮是一年中最亮最圆的。

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.

关于吃月饼这个传统的来历有两个传说。一个是唐朝的神话故事,说的是当时地球被10个太阳包围着。有一天10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9个太阳,地球才被保住。为了奖励后羿,王母娘娘赐给后羿一种长生不老药,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,变成了一个暴君。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。

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.

第二个传说讲的是在元朝,朱元璋领导的起义军计划起义来摆脱蒙古族的统治。他们用月饼来传递密信。掰开月饼就可以找到里面的密信,起义军通过这种方式成功的发动了起义,赶走了元朝的统治者。这场起义发生在八月十五之时,于是中秋节吃月饼的习俗便在民间传开来。

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.

通常月饼上都印有汉字,标明月饼的制造商和月饼的馅的种类。有些制造商还会在月饼上刻上顾客的姓,这样赠送给亲朋好友的月饼就更有人情味了。月饼通常是每盒里装四块,代表月亮的四个变化阶段。传统的月饼制作使用的是猪油,但是现在为了身体健康,已经改为使用植物油了。

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.

由于月饼所含的热量较大,因此减肥人士不宜多吃。吃这种甜腻的食物最好是就着一杯中国茶,特别是茉莉花茶或是菊花茶,这样可以有助于消化。

 
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