10th Annual Moon Festival Social: A decade of moon cake and celebration

If you love moon cake then mark this Saturday on your calendar, because the 10th annual Moon Festival Social is happening and it will have plenty of moon cake for all.

The Manitoba Chinese Tribune, a free bi-monthly publication produced by volunteers for the Chinese community, has been hosting the Moon Festival Social every year for the past decade.

The festival will feature Chinese dancers and singers, a bake-sale, an auction, comedy skits, and even gymnastic performances. The performances will be a mix of both traditional Chinese acts, as well renditions of pop songs and dancing by Canadian Born Chinese (CBC) performances.

According to Helen Wang, editor-in-chief of the MCT, the Moon Festival Social started as an event designed to bring together the Chinese community in Winnipeg and connect them with newcomers from China.

“We wanted to get the people together to celebrate. It’s more like a community event, because if people were home in China they would be with their families and friends, but they are in Canada, so we created this opportunity for people to get together,” explained Wang.

The first Moon Festival Social was a small potluck-social at the Epiphany Lutheran Church in 2003. The inaugural event saw about 200 attendees.
The event has been steadily growing over the years, and Wang expects to see about 1,500 people attend on Saturday.

While culturally the event is important for bringing together the Winnipeg Chinese community, the event is also vital to the MCT, because the Moon Festival Social serves as the publication’s main fundraising initiative to cover operating costs.

Even though the Moon Festival Social is a Chinese event, it draws many non-Chinese attendees. Wang noted that U of M faculty members, homestay families (families that host international students), members of local businesses, and even government representatives attend to show their support of the Chinese community.

Wang encourages anyone that is interested to attend even if they aren’t of Chinese descent, and says that the event is an excellent opportunity to learn about the Chinese culture.
In Chinese culture the Moon Festival is a harvest festival dating back about 3,000 years, and it is held on the 15th day of the eighth lunar month (in the Chinese calendar).

The Moon Festival serves as a cornerstone of Chinese culture and tradition, with the date being a public holiday in China. The festival is also a major part of Vietnamese and Taiwanese cultures.

What has perhaps become the most symbolic feature of the festival is the moon cake – thick pastries filled with red bean sauce and/or egg yolks, which are round or rectangular in shape with an intricate design imprinted on the top of the crust.

Whether you are a homesick Chinese student, or just a Winnipegger looking for your moon cake fix, checkout the Moon Festival Social on Sept. 22 at 6:30 p.m. in the Investor’s Group Athletic Centre. Tickets are $8 ­– $5 if you’re an MCT member.