Spring was definitely in the air on a beautiful Sunday afternoon in Canberra.
I was sitting among the crowd watching the Master of Ceremonies announcing the opening of the 2017 Canberra Moon Festival. This year’s theme was ‘Tie Us Together’ which was well reflected by the wide range of vendors and visitors taking part.
The fairytale origin of the Chinese moon festival is not something I had ever understood. All I knew was that it was a time for family reunions and is considered to be the second most significant celebration (after Chinese New Year) in China.
Then, my questions were answered when the big screen above the stage lit up to display a Chinese style painting.
Looking at the screen carefully you soon realise that it is, in fact, a live image projection of a work table at the corner of the stage where a Chinese lady in a red and black traditional costume was doing a sand painting – using her hands on the glossy surface to conjure the picture.
With a musical background, the painting continuously changed, illustrating the narrator’s telling of the Chinese Moon Festival fairy tale.
It was so amazing and beautiful that I, along with the rest of the crowd, was utterly transfixed for several minutes.
As the event concluded I was deeply touched by a familiar tune sung by a famous Chinese pop star. The song is based on a famous poem about the Moon Festival – Middle Autumn by Su Shi from the ancient Song Dynasty of about 1000 years ago.
Why was I so touched? Well, the ending words of this poem say it all:
In English that is: “Even though we may be thousands of miles apart, we wish our friends a long life so they may share the beauty of this graceful moonlight”.
Like me, the 6,800+ visitors to the Canberra Moon Festival certainly appreciated those beautiful moments!
For the full sand painting video please visit the Australia ACT Media Facebook page.
The traditional celebration of the Chinese moon festival will last for the whole week. To try the delicious moon cakes, you can visit selected Asian grocery shops or Chinese restaurants.
We hope to see you at next year’s Canberra Moon Festival!