Thursday, September 2, 2010

Moon Festival in Australia

Traditionally, the middle of autumn is the end of the harvest, when people return home for a reunion, gathering with friends and family. In Australia, 'mid autumn' happens to be early spring and it gives the festival a new meaning - "the first full moon of the new season is a nostalgic time: Winter is behind us and the energy of summer is on the horizon".

Every year, over 600,000 people of Chinese, Vietnamese and Korean descent celebrate the Moon Festival across Australia. The most visual element among the Mid autumn festival activities is the sale of moon cakes. At Asian supermarkets, grocery stores, cake shops and restaurants, you will see at prominent places piles of moon cakes and colour posters.

In Sydney Chinatown, in the two weekends leading to the Festival, there are fire crackers, loud drumming accompanying the dragon and lion dances. Local councils with large Asian population such as Hurstville, Parramatta, Cabrammatta, and Kograh would sometimes join hands with local businesses in organizing Moon Festival celebrations in the town centre. The celebrations would usually take the form of street market with food and craft stalls and a stage where traditional entertainment is performed.

Another popular form of celebration in Sydney is the harbour cruise under the moonlight where families and friends can get together to enjoy foods of the festival, good laughter and appreciate the beauty of the full moon.

Some times there are also groups who would organize lantern shows in local parks. Some schools would orgainse students to re-enact folklores as part of the school Moon Festival celebrations.

Besides the public celebrations, more people celebrate at home with a small group of family friends. After dinner comes the traditional celebration time - colourful lanterns, tables and chairs would be put up in the garden or backyard where adults and children would enjoy abundant supply of mooncake and fruits and gaze the moon. It's also the gayest time for small children when they are allowed to run around with candlelit paper lanterns.

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