The 15 day of the eight month in the Chinese calendar marks the Mid-Autumn Festival, a lunar harvest festival celebrated by the Chinese since the Tang Dynasty. It is a major holiday in the Chinese culture that has many legends and story attached to it. It is a family holiday, a joyous occasion that celebrates the full moon. The highlight of the celebration is eating moon cakes, a thin crusted Chinese pastry filled with lotus seed paste, containing a salted duck egg. Each year the date of the celebration changes depending on the lunar cycle. This year’s celebration took place September 12, 2011.
I along with a few other select invitees from the local community, attended this year’s Moon Festival, held at the home of the World Peace and Health Organization in Fultonville, New York. Upon arrival we waited in the vestibule of the former Jesuit residence where the aroma of burning incense was the prelude to an evening full of sensory stimulation. Once all the guests arrived, we moved into the dining hall decorated in bright bold colors. There was a buffet set up with a variety of gustatory delights. We heard warm stories of family and the necessity to help those in need. The WPHO entertained with both song and visual performances of costumed dance and Tai Chi. Then it was time for the moon cakes after which we went outside to gaze at the lunar splendor.
I am honored to be asked to take part in this traditional Chinese family holiday.