Thousands celebrate at 9th annual Mid-Autumn Festival

Learn why Asian folks came from all over the greater Portland area to celebrate this ancient Chinese celebration …

Performers from the Northwest Lion Dance Association usher in the good times at the 9th annual Mid-Autumn Festival.

Story and photos by David F. Ashton
One of the largest Mid-Autumn Festivals – also known as the Moon Festival, a popular East Asian tradition of Chinese origin — didn’t take place in downtown Portland. Instead, nearly 3,000 people did come to celebrate their second-favorite holiday in outer East Portland, on S.E. 82nd, on September 13.

“The Mid-Autumn Festival is traditionally celebrated outdoors, in mid- to late September,” explained the event’s coordinator, Nanette Tran. “Farmers celebrate the end of the summer harvesting season on this date.”

Thousands of visitors from all over the greater Portland area came to visit the Moon Festival at Eastport Plaza.

Event coordinator Nanette Tran, and main event sponsor, Charles Hui from the Portland Chinese Times, tell us the significance of their event.

This festival is nearly as important a holiday in the Chinese calendar as is the Chinese Lunar New Year, Tran noted. “It’s a legal holiday in many countries. Traditionally, family members and friends will gather to admire the bright mid-autumn harvest moon, and eat moon cakes and pomeloes together.”

Although the Chinese are credited with starting this tradition 3,000 years ago, many East Asian cultures have adopted the festival to their traditions.

These young musicians from the Portland Cultural Center serenade visitors with melodies as classical as are their instruments.

Brings community together
Although few celebrants are farmers nowadays, explained Tran, “This event is significant in that it helps the Chinese community feel stronger and closer to one another. It is especially important that we include our children so they may learn our traditions.”

Events at the festival, held again this year at Eastport Plaza on SE 82nd Avenue of Roses, included Chinese folk dance, a children’s choir, martial arts demonstration and a concert by the cutest little kids expertly playing classical Chinese instruments.

Additionally, an “Asian & Pacific Islander Home Buying Fair” provided attendees with educational materials, exhibits and information.

Linda Leman, of Prudential NW Properties, talks up home-buying at the Asian & Pacific Islander Home Buying Fair, held in conjunction with the Mid-Autumn Festival.

© 2008 David F. Ashton ~ East Portland News

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