The local Chinese American community recently gathered for a day of music and cultural performances at Mall of America to celebrate China’s Mid-Autumn Festival. The daylong event was free and open to the public.
This festival is one of the most popular holidays in China. Much like America’s Thanksgiving, it is celebrated by the entire country where everyone travels to visit family.
The rotunda at Mall of America was decorated with many red lanterns suspended from the ceiling, providing a festive setting for the main stage where performances took place throughout the day. Unfortunately, seating was limited, as was the ability to view the performances from the edge of the rotunda owing to the placement of many posters extolling the virtues of the city of Chongqing, one of the event’s primary sponsors.
The event began with a cultural and tourist video by Chongqing, followed by performances that included the Chongqing Jaio Ayi Art Troupe that had traveled from China to participate in this event. More than 15 local members of the Chinese and Hmong communities presented 30-plus performances throughout the day.
The Chinese Mid-Autumn Festival has been celebrated since the Zhou Dynasty (1045-221 B.C.). It started as a celebration of the moon. The Emperor believed that by giving gifts to the moon after the fall harvest would help guarantee a good harvest the following year. These offerings were usually placed on an outdoor altar for the moon to “see,” and consisted of various foods and drinks, like tea. The practice of celebrating the moon spread from just the Emperor through the upper class and into the masses during the Tong Dynasty (A.D. 618-907). It wasn’t until the Song Dynasty (A. D. 960-1279) that a formal festival was established and celebrated by the entire country. It is to occur on the 15th day of the eighth month of the lunar calendar corresponding with a full moon, which means it can occur anywhere between the middle of August through early October in the Gregorian calendar.