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San Diego Hosts First Mid-Autumn Celebration

By Gisela Sommer and Jim Li
Epoch Times San Diego Staff
Sep 22, 2005

UP CLOSE WITH THE LION: The lion dancer from the Chinese Consolidated Benevolance Association (CCBA) entertains an attentive little patron at San Diego's first Mid-Autumn Festival. (Jane Yang/Epoch Times)
High-resolution image (2048 x 1536 px, 180 dpi)

SAN DIEGO - The San Diego County Asian community celebrated its first Moon Fest Faire in San Diego last weekend in Kearny Mesa where an estimated 10,000 people attended.

The Moon Fest Faire, sponsored by the Chinese Consolidated Benevolent Association of San Diego (CCBA), took place in the parking lot of Kearny Mesa Bowl. Over thirty Asian-owned businesses and service organizations participated, offering entertainment, information, colorful silk tunics and jewelry for sale, and of course, a variety of food.

“The Mid Autumn Moon Festival is a major Chinese holiday,” said Bandy L. Yiu, CCBA board member and coordinator of the faire. “The Moon Festival is a holiday similar to Thanksgiving where families and friends come together to enjoy each other’s company and share food.”

Moon Festival, also known as Mid-Autumn Festival, is one of the three major festivals in the Chinese tradition. The other two are New Year and the Dragonboat Festival.

“The holiday is based on the lunar calendar and goes back many centuries,” said Yiu. “It is said that on this day in September the moon is fullest and shines most brightly.”

Chinese legend has it that in prehistoric times there were ten suns in the sky, and their heat made life for humans very miserable. An expert archer of the imperial court, Hou Yi, shot down nine of the suns, and for this he was reward by a goddess with a magic immortality pill.

Hou Yi gave the pill to his beautiful wife Chang Er for safekeeping. But one day Chang Er swallowed the pill. For this she was punished by the goddess and banished on the moon, which was enhanced by the radiance of her beauty. Ever since then, Chinese people gather each Moon Festival to admire her and eat moon cake in her memory.

Moon Festival is also celebrated in other Asian countries such as Korea, Vietnam, Malaysia and Singapore. It is a time of year where many people around the world enjoy moon cake.

“I’ve been eating moon cake for years,” said Ron Roberts, San Diego County District #4 Supervisor. “It’s good to have a real festival in San Diego.”

Lotus lanterns added a special Chinese ambiance to the event. Live music and dance performances as well as martial arts demonstrations went on throughout the day and evening. Admission and parking were free.

Yiu hopes to establish the Moon Festival as an annual tradition in San Diego, and make it an even bigger event next year.

The Chinese Consolidated Benevolent Association is the oldest Asian organization in San Diego. It was founded to promote the interests of the Chinese people. The goals of the CCBA include providing social services, preserving Chinese traditions and cultural heritage, engaging in charitable activities, and sponsoring educational and cultural events.

“The large turn out for this first Moon Festival Celebration in San Diego is very exciting and the Chinese opera performance is quite refreshing,” said retired software engineer, Ming Chen, from Carmel Valley. “I look forward to next year’s celebration.”