Each year, the Chinese Consolidated Benevolent Association (CCBA) organizes Chinatown’s August Moon Festival. Now in its 50th year, Chinatown’s August Moon Festival is a day-long event filled with cultural performances as well as Chinese calligraphy, arts and crafts, and various vendors of Chinese food and merchandise. The Festival not only celebrates an important Chinese holiday, but also serves to attract people of all backgrounds to Boston’s Chinatown and to highlight what the CCBA and Chinatown has to offer the general public and to educate people on Chinese culture, such as lion dancing, Chinese opera, music and folk dance, and martial arts. The event attracts thousands of spectators from the greater Boston area and beyond to Boston’s Chinatown each year.
Although there is much Chinese lore concerning the August Moon Festival, this Chinese holiday, which traces its origins back to 771 BCE, historically celebrated the annual harvest of rice and wheat on a night of the full moon. Today, the August Moon Festival in Chinese culture is very similar to American Thanksgiving. The fundamental concepts the August Moon Festival celebrates are the gathering of friends and family, thanksgiving, and prayers for the future.
Mooncakes, a round Chinese dessert typically filled with lotus bean paste and an egg yolk (representing the moon), and which are a symbol of familial unity, are shared between family and friends as part of the celebration.