Chinese Mid-Autumn Mooncake festival

Photo by hto2008

The Mid Autumn Mooncake Festival and Chinese Dance Demonstration will be taking place on Oct. 4 at Mackin House in Coquitlam.

Jessica Yue, Chinese food stylist, dancer and traditional Chinese dance choreographer will perform as well as teach the audience traditional dances.

The two dances that will be performed at the Mid-Autumn festival are Luminous Peach Blossom and Peacock Bamboo In The Moonlight.

“[Luminous Peach Blossom] showcases radiant girls dressed in petal-shaped costumes dancing happily in youthful exuberance,” says Yue.

This particular dance symbolizes branches of peach blossoms in full bloom while Peacock Bamboo In The Moonlight represents a flock of peacocks dancing elegantly by a beautiful lake.

“This Dai dance brings you to a distant but beautiful peacock hometown,” says Yue.

A dance instructor at community centres, churches and elementary schools across Vancouver since 1997, Yue recently became inspired to start telling stories through dance.

Jessica Dancing Studio, the studio Yue established in 2012, promotes interchanging culture by holding presentations, public seminars and workshops on Chinese dance. The studio’s goals are to encourage healthy body images, create positive attitudes toward teamwork and education, and most importantly, the pursuit of excellence.

Yue says she wants to use the art of Chinese dance to display spirit and joy, as well as serenity and strength.

The Chinese mid-Autumn Mooncake festival

The Chinese Mid-Autumn Festival occurs to thank the moon and to honour the harvest. The ancient Chinese people recognized the relationship between the moon, the changes of the seasons and agriculture.

The festival is meant to bring together family and pay respect to distant relatives as well. It originated from the times of the Zhou Dynasty and though it was first celebrated by the upper class, it has now become a custom for all people. However, it was not until years after its inception, during the Northern Song era, that it became widely celebrated and named the
Mid-Autumn Festival.

The festival is on the 15th day of the 8th month of the Chinese Lunar calendar, and is one of the most celebrated Chinese festivals, only second to the Lunar New Year. This time of the year is also said to be when the moon is at its fullest shape.

Mooncakes and family

Jessica Yue performs a traditional Chinese dance.

The festival is also celebrated through the offering and eating of mooncakes.

“The tradition of eating mooncakes is said to have originated from the Ming Dynasty’s (1368-1644) founding emperor, Zhu Yuanzhang,” says Yue.

Mooncakes are a pastry stuffed with red beans or lotus seeds. Yue says they are soft and round in shape to represent the reunion of a family, calling upon the feeling of yearning for family and friends who live afar. They are cut into pieces equalling the number of members in the family. Additionally, mooncakes have artistic patterns on top that demonstrate the legends of the festival, and are usually enjoyed with tea.

Yue, who loves to share authentic Chinese cuisine will also demonstrate how to bake mooncakes.

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