AsiaTown Celebrates Mid-Autumn Festival

Ray Hom

On Friday, September 13, the AsiaTown community held its first ever “Mid-Autumn Festival” holiday pop-up event on the vacant lot of Dave’s Supermarket on Payne Avenue.

The Mid-Autumn Festival, also known as the Mooncake Festival, falls on the 15th day of the eighth lunar month each year. The Mid-Autumn Festival is the second grandest festival in China after the Chinese New Year. It takes its name from the fact that it is always celebrated in the middle of the autumn season. The day is also known as the Moon Festival, as at that time of the year the moon is at its roundest and brightest.

In Chinese beliefs, the full moon Mid-Autumn Festival (or Zhong Qiu Jie in Mandarin) is the symbol for a family reunion. A full moon symbolizes prosperity and reunion for the whole family.  Nowadays, people still like appreciating the moon during the Mid-Autumn Festival in China, Singapore, Hong Kong, Malaysia, Vietnam and other parts of the world. Cleveland is no different because of the migration of Chinese over the years.  Chinese family members have dinner together in the evening of the Mid-Autumn Festival.

The mooncake is the special food of Mid-Autumn Festival.  As a tradition, mooncakes symbolize Family Reunion.  Round mooncakes complement the harvest moon in the night sky at the Mid-Autumn Festival. On this day, people sacrifice mooncakes to the moon as an offering and eat them for celebration. Mooncakes come in various flavors according to the region. The mooncakes are round, symbolizing the reunion of a family, so it is easy to understand how the eating of mooncakes under the round moon can evoke longing for distant relatives and friends.

Nowadays, people present mooncakes to relatives and friends to demonstrate that they wish them a long and happy life.

Due to this tradition, mooncake sales are a big business for local restaurants, bakeries and supermarkets.  As part of bringing awareness to the holiday, Koko Bakery donated various flavors of mooncake samples to all in attendance. The delicious mooncakes were also made available for sale from Koko Bakery and other participating vendors.

So, as tradition calls, Cleveland’s AsiaTown wanted to do their part in promoting the gathering of families on the evening of the Mid-Autumn Festival. Guests were treated to a traditional Dragon dance performance by OCA Greater Cleveland‘s Dragon team as well as a special appearance by the God of Wealth bringing prosperity, wealth and good fortune to all.  The first time event was attended by many Asian families as well as neighbors and friends who were interested in learning more about the Festival. Those spotted at the event included the Honorable Ward 7 City Councilman, Mr. Basheer Jones, Ward 7 Observer Publisher Ron Calhoun, MidTown Cleveland President Jeff Epstein Cleveland Police,

This first time event was spearheaded by Midtown Cleveland’s newly added AsiaTown Project Manager, Ms. Karis Tzeng. One of Ms.Tzeng’s goals is to bring more awareness to AsiaTown along with encouraging residents and business owners in the community to become more engaged in the community.  Since Ms. Tzeng joined Midtown Cleveland a few weeks before the event, she had to jump right into her role by making her vision become a reality to gauge interest in the community.  With just a few short weeks, she and her team of volunteers were able to promote the event and engaged community sponsors effectively to make it a huge success.

Special thanks to the following sponsors for making this first time event a huge success: Dave’s Supermarket, Li Wah,  MidTown Cleveland, Inc.,  Cleveland Asian Festival, OCA Greater Cleveland, WJCU A Sprinkle of Seoul,  Ward 7 Councilman Basheer Jones, and The City of Cleveland – City Hall Community Relations Board.

On behalf of the AsiaTown residents and community, a special thanks to Ms. Tzeng and all the sponsors for a lovely first time ever Mid-Autumn Festival celebration in Cleveland. And thanks to all who were in attendance.

We look forward to more folks from the community coming out to support and celebrate the diversity of AsiaTown. Through such events, we will continue building bridges through engagement to bring awareness, education and acceptance across the broader Midtown community and city of Cleveland.

If you are interested in getting involved with future AsiaTown community events, please contact OCA Greater Cleveland at 216 236-3946 or visit the website www.ocagc.org

 

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