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Luxuriant mooncake boxes

By Becky Li
China.org.cn staff reporter

Luxuriant mooncake boxes

The day of the traditional Chinese Mid-Autumn Festival, also called the Moon Festival, falls on the fifteenth day of the eighth month in the Chinese lunar calendar, and usually in late September or in early October according to the Gregorian calendar. This year, the festival falls on October 3. 每年阴历八月十五日是中国的传统节日中秋节,通常是在公历九月末或十月初,今年的中秋节是公历十月三日 
As the day draws near, mooncakes become the most popular food and a gift given to mark the occasion. With the range of mooncakes changing constantly, a new variety, packaged in wooden, bamboo, and silk boxes, has been prevailing on the market. These luxuriantly packaged mooncakes are selling well both in supermarkets and hotels around the country. 随着中秋节一天天的临近,月饼成为这一时期的抢手货和礼品。随着月饼种类的不断变化,一种新型的木制、竹制和丝制包装盒的月饼在市场上开始流行。这种豪华包装的月饼在国内的各大超市和酒店十分走俏。
Some producers obviously believe that people will be more likely to purchase their mooncakes if the packaging is extremely attractive, and they even add “gifts” inside such as bottles of wine or a small golden figure of Buddha. 一些厂商显然相信如果月饼的包装极度引人注目,人们就一定会购买,有些厂商甚至将瓶装酒或金制佛像这类礼品装在月饼盒中。
Most of the luxury boxes are thrown away after the mooncakes have been eaten. I remember during my childhood, mooncakes came only in paper cartons with beautiful designs printed on them. It seems that Chinese people now have a tendency to pursue luxury after the “problem of adequate food and clothing” has been settled. What a waste! 人们通常在吃完月饼后就将这些豪华月饼盒扔掉了。我记得我小时候月饼是被包在印有漂亮图案的纸盒里。中国人现在好像在温饱问题得以解决之后有一种追求豪华的趋势。
It is a Chinese tradition to visit others with presents, usually food, during festivals. People usually choose those with good-looking packages for the sake of “face”, no matter the true value of the food itself. However, tradition should not become an excuse for waste in a timber-deficient nation like China. 节日期间带礼品走亲访友是中国人的传统,这些礼品通常是食品。人们为了面子上过得去通常选择那些包装好看的食品,很少考虑食品本身的价值。然而,传统不应该被当成浪费的借口,尤其是在中国这样一个木材缺少的国家。
Some Chinese experts estimate that 10 million wooden mooncake boxes require the felling of over 100 trees, each with a diameter of at least 10 centimeters. In a sense, Chinese consumers are not only eating mooncakes; they are devouring a lot of trees, too! 据中国专家统计,每一千万盒月饼需要砍伐一百棵直径至少十厘米的树木。在某种意义上说,中国消费者消费的不仅仅是月饼,也在消费着许许多多的树木。
China is not particularly rich in woodland resources. Only 16.55 percent of its territory is covered by forests, ranking 111th in the world. This cannot possibly satisfy the needs of 1.3 billion people accounting for more than 20 percent of the world’s total population. 中国的林木资源很不丰富。中国国土的森林覆盖率只有16.55%,位于世界第111位。这远远不能满足占世界人口20%13亿中国人的需要。
Currently a “green packaging” drive has been prevailing around the world. Germany has introduced a “Law of Recycling Economy”. Denmark has been the lead in implementing the system of “green tax”. Over-packaging is illegal in South Korea. Many countries demand manufacturers, importers and retailers to take the responsibilities for recycling and remanufacturing of package materials. These practices deserve some consideration in China. 目前一场绿色包装运动正在全世界展开。德国引进了循环经济法。丹麦引带头实施环保税。过度包装在韩国属于违法行为。许多国家要求生产厂家、进口商和批发商对包装材料的循环使用和再生产负责。这些经验值得中国借鉴。
Every year before the Mid-Autumn Festival, I receive a few boxes of mooncakes as presents from my friends and relatives and most of these gifts are in the most luxuriant packaging. However, I seldom eat these mooncakes, but, instead, give them to other friends and relatives. To treat myself and my daughter, I buy non-packaged cakes, which are much cheaper than their luxury equivalents. They also taste very delicious. Sometimes I buy mooncakes after the festival because they are then more than 50 percent cheaper!


(China.org.cn 李京荣 译)

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