by Lia Jackson
The August Moon Festival, also known as the Mid-Autumn Festival, is the second largest festival in China. It began back in 771 BCE and is held in the middle of autumn, according to the Chinese Lunar Calendar, as a way to celebrate the harvest on a night of the full moon. Mooncakes are a popular and traditional food item at the Festival, which are served and eaten during the celebration to symbolize family unity.
Massachusetts is fortunate to celebrate two August Moon Festivals, in Boston and Quincy. Visitors and local residents alike are welcome at each.
Now in its 49th year, Boston’s Chinatown August Moon Festival (August 12) is a long day event (10 a.m. to 5 p.m.) that is free and open to the public. Located in Boston’s Chinatown neighborhood at Beach Street and Harrison Avenue, the event s organized by the Chinese Consolidated Benevolent Association of New England (CCBA), a group that promotes Chinese culture and traditions year round in the region.
The Festival is filled with cultural performances as well as Chinese calligraphy, arts and crafts, along with various vendors of Chinese food and merchandise. The Festival also highlights what the CCBA and Chinatown has to offer the general public about the Chinese-American community.
This year, Quincy is celebrating its 31st Annual Quincy August Moon Festival (August 19). Boston Magazine named it Boston’s Best Street Festival in 2018, and describes it like this:
“Warm breezes, vibrant dragons and lions, and fresh-baked mooncakes filled with lotus-seed paste for the taking: This is the August Moon Festival, an always-boisterous street party commemorating the end of the harvest season. Chock full of cultural performances, it’s an action-packed day with arguably the best street food of any festival around.”
The festival is organized by the Quincy Asian Resources, Inc., a non-profit organization whose mission is to foster and improve the lives of Asian Americans and their families to benefit Quincy and its neighboring communities. The festival is held on Coddington Street, Quincy Center and runs from noon to 5 p.m. Activities include live music, food, a petting zoo, cultural performances and games.
Enjoy these August Moon festivals in Massachusetts. For visitor information, go to MassVacation.com.
Lia Jackson is a recent graduate of Fitchburg State University and an intern at the Massachusetts Office of Travel & Tourism in summer 2018.