A group of Chinese people wait in line to buy moon cakes at the Chinatown in San Francisco, California on Sept 3. The Mid-Autumn Festival falls on Monday.Michelle Cen / China Daily
Held on the 15th day of the eighth lunar month, the Mid-Autumn Festival, also known as the Moon Festival, is China’s second grandest festival, after the Spring Festival. As the Chinese gather on the mainland to celebrate, so will the Chinese who live overseas in the US.
In San Francisco, the Chinatown Merchants Association (CMA) presented the Annual Autumn Moon Festival on Sept 6 in the city’s Chinatown. It transformed Chinatown into an Asian theme park with more than 200 arts-and-crafts booths, food concessions and street and stage entertainment.
“Attendees can enjoy some Chinese traditional food such as bubble tea drinks, moon cakes and dim sum,” said the CMA’s Eva Lee.
The Moon Cake Festival showcases the community’s many cultural assets, said Lee, adding that the CMA seeks to help visitors and locals alike appreciate the rich cultural heritage of Chinatown and all those who live and work in the neighborhood.
“It is important to remember Chinese traditions,” said Wu Bo, a representative of United for a Better society (UBC), a local Chinese overseas organization based in Silicon Valley.
He told China Daily that he would be eating moon cakes with his family at the Moon Festival, adding that it would be a good opportunity for the family to get together.
In Los Angeles, the Beverly Center has a back-to-school and Mid-Autumn Festival promotion going on for Chinese students at USC and UCLA, where students get various gift certificates for the money they spend.
In Houston, the Houston Clear Lake Space City Professional Association celebrated the Mid-Autumn Festival at the University of Houston’s Clear Lake campus on Sept 6 with entertainment, food and a raffle drawing. The grand prize was a 51-inch HDTV. Proceeds from the raffle were donated to help victims of the Yunnan earthquake and Kaohsiung gas explosion.
More than 10 Houston Chinese organizations had a big Mid-Autumn Festival at the Huang Family Hall on Sept 6. The program included entertainment, dinner, Karaoke and dancing.
Eating moon cakes is one of the most popular ways for the Chinese to celebrate the Mid-Autumn Festival, but shipping moon cakes of certain fillings from China is prohibited.
“Our international operations team checked with contacts at customs and border protection. According to their rules, moon cakes are prohibited based on the contents of egg yolks and meat,” said Darlene Casey, a communications representative of the US Postal Service.
But fortunately, Chinese living overseas can purchase moon cakes in the US. Starbucks creates a variety of types of moon cakes this year, according to the company’s advertisement.
At the same time, Godiva has a Mid-Autumn Festival special and is selling chocolate moon cakes just as they did last year.