by Jian Ping
Chicago, Sept. 25 (Xinhua) -- Moon viewing, lantern parade, seed ball planting, nature play, and mooncake sampling -- the Chicago Park District, together with several Chinese American organizations, organized an event over the weekend to celebrate the Mid-Autumn Festival.
Though the Mid-Autumn Festival, also known as the Moon Festival, a traditional Chinese festival symbolizing family reunions, is still days away, celebrations in the third largest city in the United States have already kicked off. Among the activities, the largest will be in the city's Chinatown at the end of September.
The Mid-Autumn Festival this year falls on Sept. 29.
Calling it an enchanting occasion to celebrate Asian tradition and culture, Sheron Wong, event organizer of the celebration in Chinatown, told Xinhua that the annual event has a long history and was well attended in the past, with roughly half of the attendees being Americans interested in Asian culture, and the remaining half Asian descendants interested in their own roots and traditions.
"We are going to do something different this year," Wong said. "In addition to activities such as lion dance, Tai Chi, Han Fu (traditional clothing) show, we will screen a movie outdoors on a large screen and have a group of freelance astronomers bring their telescopes to share with participants the experience of watching the moon and stars."
Wong said the streets in Chinatown would be decorated with lanterns lighting up the night, and people would have the opportunity to sample mooncakes.
"The Mid-Autumn Festival is a time when we come together to celebrate family reunions and our traditions," she said.
A few Chinese restaurants are offering special set menus for this special occasion, and the Heritage Museum of Asian Arts is hosting a special "painting workshop."
Dee Lyu, associate executive director at the Heritage Museum of Asian Arts, told Xinhua that they were excited to host this in-person event celebrating the festival after the pandemic.
"We have a special presentation introducing the Mid-Autumn Festival and a Chinese artist teaching painting," Lyu said. "We want to engage our community and let people know more about Asian culture."
Each year people came to the celebration in Chinatown, not only from the Chicago area, but also from other states in the Midwest, Wong said, calling on more people to attend this year's celebration on Saturday, Sept. 30, to "cherish the full moon, strengthen our bonds with loved ones, and revel in the rich traditions of the Mid-Autumn Festival right here in Chicago."