The Mid-Autumn Festival is one of the largest festivals celebrated in China and East Asia where many communities come together with families and friends for a day (or two) – on the 15th day of the eighth month on the lunar calendar – to give thanks and Richmond is no exception.
Family is an important aspect of the festival and places such as the Richmond Grace Alliance Church (RGAC) will host their Light of the World event with their main concept in bringing different families together and bridging the generation gap.
“We came to realize that our parents don’t really know and just grew up celebrating (the meaning of the festival) and just grew up celebrating (it), but with this event, we have an opportunity to be educated and educate in a way that we can respect our roots while passing this knowledge onto the younger generations,” said Eric Kua, the English-speaking pastor at RGAC.
Shirley Tong and Clara Leung, who are RGAC’s event coordinators, look forward to opening their doors for the community of Richmond to learn about the Chinese heritage and to celebrate with their families on this day of giving thanks.
“Parents can have the youth help them cook together and the parents can then help the youth lead the (game) booths and that is where the inter-mixing comes along,” said Tong.
A popular symbol during this time of year are the lanterns that represent lighting the way to community gatherings and Cadillac Fairview CF Richmond Centre has collaborated with Fête Chinoise in expressing this symbol of togetherness through the pop-art lantern installation this year.
“For us, the Mid-Autumn Festival is a Chinese celebration where family and friends gather together to give thanks,” said Julie Lauzon, CF’s property manager.
Deborah Lau-Yu, the creative director of Fête Chinoise, said it is an amazing opportunity to be able to see the installation come to life as a symbol of “marriage between Canadian culture and Chinese heritage” during this time of year.
She added that having a platform to make sure the “expression of culture is authentic and innovative” is very uplifting especially knowing that the community can enjoy it in a place of diversity and gathering.
Richmond Chinese Community Society’s (RCCS) director and event chair, Thomas Yu, said that their annual Mid-Autumn Festival event is not just bringing the community and families together, but to also showcase the different multicultural aspects of the festival.
“Mid-Autumn Festival is really a way that we can reach out to people to share with them, the general public about some of the Chinese culture,” said Yu, adding that there is a cross-cultural aspect of the festival where it is celebrated in other countries and nationalities around the world.
For example, in some European countries, instead of calling it the Mid-Autumn Festival, it is called the Harvest Full Moon Celebration.
According to Marina Szijarto, the Harvest Full Moon Project coordinator, the two celebrations share similarities, like focusing on dance and music, but their cultural expression is very different.
“What is our commonality and what is it that brings us together, because even though we don’t share a language, we can still celebrate together,” said Szijarto.
To Szijarto, the most important thing during the celebration is to connect, work, and learn with others while showing these cultural traditions instead of just telling a story.