Season for tasty Double Ninth Festival cakes
Double Ninth Festival cakes are a seasonal snack around the Double Ninth Festival which fell on October 14 this year. The soft and fragrant cakes are also called chrysanthemum cakes, flower cakes and five-color cakes.
The major ingredient in the cakes is glutinous rice flour, which is combined with refined sugar and steamed. Jujubes and dried colored winter melon shreds are then used to decorate the cakes.
They can be eaten alone or sent to friends and relatives as a gift. It's a custom among people in Songjiang to insert little colored flags on the cakes and eat them in candlelight. The colored flags symbolize dogwood, a plant used by locals to drive out evil spirits. Since the pronunciations of both "cake" and "height" are the same in Chinese, dining on a piece of cake is thought to bring people the same good luck as climbing a hill.
Families who pay special attention to culture and customs make nine-lay cakes in the shape of a pagoda and put two sheep-formed dough figures on them.