Kinmen to host mooncake gambling festival in September

The Kinmen Mid-Autumn Mooncake Gambling Festival, featuring a dice game offering mooncakes and other prizes, will be held from Sept. 1 to 18 in five townships of the outlying island county, the Kinmen County government announced recently.

The finals of the gambling game will take place on Sept. 11 and will gather the winning competitors from preliminary rounds of the game held in Jincheng, Jinhu, Jinsha, Jinning and Lieyu townships simultaneously.

The top three winners of the preliminary round in each location will be eligible for big prizes before competing for grand prizes in the final.

In Lieyu, for example, the top three will win a television, a washing machine and a drier, respectively, and a box of mooncakes each.

In addition to the dice game, several other activities will be held during the festival, including lottery drawings for tourists who shop in Kinmen and an online gambling game to win mooncakes, according to the county government.

Winners of these drawings will be eligible for more than 25,000 prizes, including mooncakes, bottles of liquor from Kinmen Kaoliang Liquor Inc., free hotel coupons and discounts, and air and ferry tickets, the county government said.

Among the most coveted prizes are tickets for 1,000 people to visit Liuying Military Base, which has been transformed into a popular attraction that allows tourists to experience military life.

Now in its 11th year, the annual festival was registered as an intangible cultural heritage in 2011 by the Ministry of Culture and included in the 2012 Taiwan Tourism Events Calendar published by the Tourism Bureau.

The idea of tossing dice to compete for mooncakes is said to date back hundreds of years ago to Ming Dynasty, when loyalist Koxinga (Zheng Cheng-gong, ???) held naval drills in Xiamen and his associate Hong Xu (??) set up the game during the Mid-Autumn Festival to relieve the soldiers' homesickness.

Mooncakes, a staple during the Mid-Autumn Festival, became the main prize, but other prizes have been added over the years in the version of the game played in Kinmen.

Source: Focus Taiwan