'Mid-Autumn Festival' thrives at Woodstock Library
The Chinese festival called Zhongqiujie ["jong-chyoh-jyeah"] – the Mid-Autumn Festival – is actually usually celebrated in late summer or early autumn. And that was the case at the Woodstock Branch Library on Saturday, September 30.
Mid-Autumn was first celebrated as a festival during the Shang Dynasty (1600–1046 BC), which is credited with starting this festival. It's also called the Moon Festival, in the belief that worshipping the moon and eating together around a table brings good luck and happiness.
"Here today, we're celebrating the Moon Festival with stories, music, and three different craft activities," announced Patience Liu, of the Formosa Association of Student Cultural Ambassadors – a nationwide nonprofit group sponsored by Overseas Community Affairs Commission of Taiwan.
About a dozen students helped guests make "moon cakes", served prepared cakes, and made crafts such as Bunny Cup Lanterns, Bunny Book Marks, and Bunny Gift Containers.
"The bunny rabbit is important, because in Chinese legend, Yùtù (literally the "Jade Rabbit"), lives in the moon, and accompanies the moon goddess, Chang'e. Because the harvest moon is the visual symbol of the festival, we eat food that is a round shape. Foods like the 'moon cake' and oranges symbolize completeness and harmony," Liu patiently explained.
"Holding this festival helps the children living here, with Chinese-influenced heritages, to learn about the customs of their ancestors," Liu observed. "And, we enjoy sharing our culture with people here, from all backgrounds because helping people share their traditions promotes good will."
After renowned musician Bi Hai gave a concert playing his guzheng (Chinese zither), along with Harry Kong playing his dizi (Chinese bamboo flute), guests circulated around the Woodstock Branch Library enjoying snacks and making crafts.
"I'm happy to see so many coming out for our celebration today," smiled Liu, as the annual Moon Festival was well underway.