Tradition has it that the “Gambling for Moon-Cakes” game was originated by Hong Xu, born in Kinmen’s Hongmengang (Houfenggang).
When Zheng Chenggong set out and attacked Jinling (Nanjing), Hong Xu was left behind to guard Xiamen. In order to calm the troops and comfort them in their homesickness, on Mid-autumn Festival day he had the soldiers of the garrison play this game, and as time went on it became a rather characteristic activity done in Jinmen on this holiday. “Gambling for moon-cakes” is a dice game, the winning prizes for which are moon-cakes. In the past Kinmen was a barren land and the people were poor. Families all hoped that their children would pass the civil service exams and thus make a name for themselves. Because they were all familiar with the civil service examination system, the six dice used in this game were given the names of the different levels or “degrees” of the examination system (zhuangyuan, bangyan, tanhua, jinshi, juren, and xiucai). The Kinmen County government conducts the “Kinmen Mid-autumn Moon-cake Gambling Game” in accordance with the ancient rules. Participants must all go through the three levels of the exam, “provincial, metropolitan, palace.” Then, according to their ranking, they each receive a moon-cake representing the particular status they have achieved, from “top graduate” (zhuangyuan) to “graduate” (xiucai). In addition, to amplify the event and make it more interesting, traditional Kinmen toys provided so that young and old can have fun to their heart’s content!