Submitted by Don Doman
The other morning I stepped outside to find my morning paper and looked up at the dark sky to see an orange moon. Burning forest fires have given us a tough September so far, with orange clouds, suns, skies and moons. Thankfully, a good rain will soon clear the skies in time for the Chinese Mid-Autumn Festival, which is held on the 15th day of the eighth month in the Han calendar. This should be the night of a full moon falling near the Autumnal Equinox.
Harvest festivals have been important for societies around the world for thousands of years, but they generally differ by crops and climates. Harvest festivals generally center around feasting with family and friends enjoying food derived from local crops. Eating, merriment, contests, music, and romance are all a part of harvest festivals. This is something I can support.
Here in Tacoma and the Pacific Northwest we love Asian influences. Our beautiful Chinese Reconciliation Park along the banks of Commencement Bay is a perfect location for celebration. The Mid-Autumn Festival and lunar appreciation is one of the four most important Chinese festivals.
This will be my first Tacoma Moon Festival. I have not visited the park before and I have never had a mooncake, which is an festival indispensable delicacy like pumpkin pie at Thanksgiving and fruitcake at Christmastime. Mooncakes are shared between friends and family during celebrations of the festival. Typical mooncakes are round pastries featuring a rich, thick filling of red bean or lotus seed paste with a thin crust. They are served in wedges with tea. I can hardly wait.
Please, celebrate the moon and join in the fun on Saturday, September 16, from 2 pm to 7 pm, to celebrate the 5th annual Tacoma Moon Festival, held at the Chinese Reconciliation Park on the Ruston waterfront. The event is free and open to all ages.
Presented by the Chinese Reconciliation Project Foundation, the theme of this year’s celebration is “Immigrant’s Stories.” The entertainment stage at the Fuzhou Ting will feature music, dance, and theatrical performers from a number of heritage communities; the program includes a Native Pride Dance group with Tacoma Public Schools, Kim Archer Music, Cambodian Classical and Folk Dance Northwest, Jekesa Marimba, Tello Hernandez, and a final performance of Beijing Opera by Seattle’s Hwa Sheng Chinese Opera Club.
The famous “Mooncakes” will be available for sale at the CRPF Tent along with other vendors and info booths. Tours of the Reconciliation Park will be led by park history docents. A wine and beer garden will be available for adults, and there will be hands-on activities for adults and children. As the festival closes at 7 pm, a parade of lanterns will be led by the Moon Princess.
Foundation gratitude goes to their sponsors, donors, partners and volunteers to make this event possible and free of charge to the public! They look forward to celebrating with you at the Chinese Reconciliation Park! I’ll be there with friends and family.
Please see event updates on Facebook: www.facebook.com/TacomaMoonFestival and event program at www.tacomachinesepark.org/2017-tacoma-moon-festival-program/.