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The August Moon Festival in Boston is one of the most popular events celebrating Chinese culture and heritage in Boston and is one of the biggest Asian events of the year. It is held in middle of the eight lunar month of every year, which is in September or October in Asia. According to legend, this is the time when the moon is at its roundest, fullest and most beautiful. In Boston, the festival is celebrated in the middle or the end of August. The August Moon Festival, also known as the Mid-Autumn festival marks the end of a successful harvest season and venerates the legendary couple of the immortal Houyi and Chang'e, the Moon Goddess of Immortality.
The August Moon Festival was originally celebrated during the Chinese uprising against the Mongols in the 13th and 14th centuries. It is said that since rebellion and disobedience was not allowed, the Chinese used the festival as a time for uprising. The Chinese rebels asked permission to distribute thousands of the traditional moon cakes, which are disc-shaped flaky pastries, filled with a delicious sweetened bean-paste filling, in honor of the Mongol leader.
But the moon cakes each had a message inside that stated that they should all take up arms and kill the Mongols on the fifteenth of the eighth lunar month, and according to legend, this is how the Chinese overthrew the Mongols. Traditionally, the August Moon festival has consisted of families going outside to admire the moon with the children holding lanterns.
The August Moon Festival in Boston is held annually and has been taking place for the last 24 years. It is the biggest street festival in Chinatown which is the country’s fifth largest Chinatown and home to about 5,000 people. The event is held on Harrison, Hudson, Tyler and Beach Streets from 10 am to 5 pm.
The festival draws in over 10,000 and features a myriad of events and activities and tons of entertainment. There are lion dances, drumming, and traditional musical performances throughout the day, but also over 20 cultural performances. Also, be ready to admire martial arts performances and folk dances. If you’re coming to the festival with your kids, there is a special children’s area with arts, crafts and many activities dedicated especially for them.
There are many Asian communities in Boston’s Chinatown and they all participate in the festival in their own unique way, however, the festival honors several distinct Asian cultures every year in the spirit of celebrating both the ethnic diversity of the district but also the feelings of community and solidarity that tie them together.
The festival also showcases many Asian art forms with many Chinese calligraphy painting tables and games of Chinese chess. There are also dozens of tables and vendors exhibiting many arts and crafts that are also available for sale. There is also a large amount of merchandise at good prices. Many of the local Asian stores bring their gift items, decorative art, apparel and trinkets on a table for sale and provide good deals and discounts.
The August Moon Festival in Boston is also the perfect time to try out delicious Asian cuisine with many food vendors and booths serving up traditional and modern dishes. You can also indulge in the customary moon cakes which have become a symbol of the festival.