Wednesday, October 17, 2007
Autumn Moon Festival
For many centuries, Chinese families have enjoyed a fall celebration on the 15th day of the 8th moon, occurring around the fall Equinox. This day is most meaningful to rural farmers, but celebrated by city dwellers as well. By autumn, fruits, vegetables and grains have all been harvested. Farmers can enjoy the abundance of their crops, especially if it was a good year. In celebration of the Autumn or Harvest moon (as it can be referred to as both), families reunite happily for a feast of delicious foods, including moon cakes. Children are told the story about a moon fairy living in a crystal palace who comes out to dance on the moon's shadowy surface. The legend dates back to ancient times.
Here in the United States, Autumn Moon Festivals are not only celebrated by Chinese-Americans, but also by adoptive families with Asian children. We attended one this past weekend in Des Plaines, IL, hosted by the Cradle Adoption Agency. At the event, I had the opportunity to meet other adoptive parents with children from China as well as Korea and Vietnam. My daughters enjoyed making paper lanterns, colorful collages and other crafts. In addition, they had games set-up for the children, a buffet of Chinese food and topped the night with professional dancers. Little Sister especially enjoyed seeing the Lion Dancers and squealed loudly every time they popped their heads up or weaved in and out of the audience. The festival gave our family a way to celebrate the Chinese culture of our daughters' homeland. Fun was had by all.