Lantern-making crafts celebrate Chinese autumn festival in Woodstock

Not all SE Portland celebrations are German! Learn why the Chinese celebrate their harvest season by making colorful lanterns …

The Lynch family – dad Chris, as well as Melissa, a Lewis 3rd grader and Elizabeth, a Lewis Elementary 1st grader – show their paper lanterns.

Story and photos by David F. Ashton
While many folks were enjoying a touch of Bavarian culture at Oaks Park’s Oktoberfest, others were learning the Chinese way of celebrating the harvest season, by making paper lanterns at the Woodstock Branch Library late in September.

“We make lanterns as part of our mid-autumn festival,” explained instructor Jean Choy. “Because the brightly colored lantern reminds us of the moon, we use them as part of our celebration.”

“On the date of our festival, the moon is the biggest and shines the brightest,” Choy told us. “Actually, the celebration is for three days. We say ‘hello, moon’ on the first day, and say ‘goodbye, moon’ on the third day.”

Instructor Jean Choy tells families at the Woodstock Library about the Chinese tradition behind lantern making, while she gives construction tips.

We asked Choy why there was a rabbit on each of the lanterns the kids and parents were making.

“We put a bunny face on the lantern because legend says a bunny rabbit lives in the moon. His role is to make the medicine of longevity; for a long, healthy life.”

© 2007 David F. Ashton ~ East Portland News Service

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