The Great Neck Chinese Association (GNCA) celebrated the Mid-Autumn Festival at Great Neck House on Sunday, Sept. 18, to the sounds of laughing children, screaming babies and flying cranes.
Also known as the Moon Festival, the Mid-Autumn Festival occurs during the autumn season of the lunar calendar when the moon is at its fullest. During the celebration, families come together to honor the roundness and beauty of the moon. The tradition started as a harvest festival, when farmers would take a moment to appreciate the year’s sumptuous bounty, similar to Thanksgiving in American culture. The festival happened to occur at the same moment that the moon was full, which is why Chinese people celebrate by eating round treats called moon cakes, which are delectable pastries with sweet fillings ranging from red bean to coconut.
The Moon Festival is one of the most beloved celebrations on the lunar calendar. Families stay up late to appreciate the full moon, as children march around with round lanterns in the glistening moonlight. As a tradition, Chinese people often use round objects that resemble the moon or consume round treats to symbolize harmony and the wholeness of community.
“Moon Festival is the second most important holiday in Chinese culture,” said Ke Wei, copresident of GNCA. “It’s the first time we’re celebrating the Mid-Autumn Festival in Great Neck, which is great for our community because we want to welcome more Chinese families into Great Neck as we grow.”
The atmosphere at Great Neck House was lively and jubilant. Children were arts and crafts masters, running around with origami and paper cranes, while parents were moon cake connoisseurs, tasting the many different varieties, including coconut, red bean and lotus.
“I’m glad so many people could come,” said Carol Xu. “It’s not only for the holiday celebration, but also for the promotion of the Great Neck Chinese Association. We want to extend our community to reach out and include more and more Chinese families. So far everyone is having a great time.”
The Great Neck Chinese Associa-tion was pleased to introduce the Mid-Autumn Festival to the Great Neck community. The celebration not only represented the Moon Festival, but also the growing integration of the Chinese community.