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70th Annual Mid-Autumn Moon Festival Held in Chinatown

By Samantha Page
Published: Monday, September 15, 2008, at 10:54AM
DSC00163 [Flickr]

Chinese lanterns hang over the heads of festival-goers.

Saturday night saw Chinatown celebrate its 70th annual Mid-Autumn Moon Festival with contortionists, Shaolin martial arts, storytelling and, of course, mooncakes. The festival was also the occasion for Chinatown to be nationally recognized as a "Preserve America" community.

The Moon Festival, which Sonny Soo Hoo of the Chinatown Business Improvement District likened to a Chinese Thanksgiving, is traditionally celebrated with mooncakes, a thick lotus seed pastry containing one or two egg yolks for good luck.

Phoenix Bakery, Chinatown's oldest bakery -- also celebrating its 70th anniversary this year -- gave a presentation on how the little cakes are made. The audience learned that mooncakes have a special place in Chinese folklore - they are believed to have held secret messages which led to the overthrow of China's Mongolian rulers in the 14th century. The 2008 Miss Chinatown Queen and three Princesses also went onstage, where they performed a traditional celebration of the festival with bonsai, fruit, tea and cakes.

For most people, the highlights of the show were the candelabra contortionist and the Shaolin Warriors of Chinatown, who thrilled with a Kung Fu demonstration.

Councilmember Ed Reyes was on hand, as was Assemblymember Mike Eng, CRA/LA Board of Commissioners member Alejandro Ortiz, and Preserve America Representative Yeni Tran, Special Assistant to Under Secretary of Natural Resources and Environment.

Councilmember Reyes presented Chinatown leader/community activist Irvin Lai and actor James Hong with “Lifetime Achievement” awards.

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