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Mooncakes, traditions draw crowds to Mid-Autumn Festival

By YIFAN XU in Washington | chinadaily.com.cn | Updated: 2023-09-26 10:27

Booths featuring traditional Chinese activities drew enthusiastic crowds, while various traditional Chinese performances won applause. 

Chinese Americans and people of various ethnic groups in and around Washington DC gathered Sunday at the Chinatown Community Cultural Center to celebrate the Mid-Autumn Festival.

The event, including an indoor garden party and performances, was hosted on Sunday by the three largest Chinese schools in the District of Columbia-Maryland-Virginia region: the Delaware-Maryland-Virginia region: Hope Chinese School, American Chinese School, and Howard County Chinese School.

As one of the "Taste of China in China Town" activity series, the event marked the coming Mid-Autumn Festival. The festival is one of China's most important traditions and falls on the 15th day of the eighth month of the Chinese lunar calendar and Sept 29 in the solar calendar this year.

Painters demonstrated Chinese painting on fans with colorful brush and ink, such as a cute panda eating bamboo and a witty kitten pouncing on a bee.

The calligrapher asked the guests their names and wrote them on the bookmarks with smooth brush strokes. Some instructors patiently taught people how to make beautiful and delicious mooncakes with colorful fillings, white sticky rice dough, and simple molds. Joyful laughter and conversation filled the garden party.

Guests also were treated to mooncake-tasting, trying on traditional Chinese clothing, and the sounds of Chinese folk instruments.

Arina, 23, got a flyer for the event as she passed the community center's entrance. She decided to visit and was mesmerized by the Chinese paintings and calligraphy and stayed in front of the booth for some time.

"I've always found Chinese culture fascinating. I'm going to start learning Chinese, like Chinese characters and more. They are so beautiful," she said to China Daily, holding up the Chinese transliteration of her name written by the calligrapher on a bookmark.

Young children enjoyed making craft lanterns, painting Peking Opera faces, holding and moving marbles with chopsticks, hitting drums for blessings, and creating a picture book in the theme of the Mid-Autumn Festival. It was a day for family reunions and harvest celebration.

Austin, 7, moved from booth to booth, holding his mom's hand. He had just finished his first handmade mooncake, proudly sharing it with her. And then he walked toward the booth where he could make a bunny lantern.

"I know next Friday is the Mid-Autumn Festival, and I'll lighten this bunny and walk around my neighborhood that night," he said.

"I've tried all of them, and they're all fun!" Kyla, 10, told China Daily with a big smile.

The audience, more than 400, enjoyed performances of Chinese folk music, Chinese dance and kung fu.

Xu Xueyuan, minister at the Chinese embassy, watched the performances and experienced the cultural offerings. She wrote "Happy Mid-Autumn Festival" (中秋节快乐) at the calligraphy booth in Chinese script.

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