Reflective Essay is due on Monday (9/23) by 11:59 PM (before mid-night)
Please submit a Reflective Essay on your participation of the Tacoma Moon Festival: Please read this guide on how to write a reflective essay.
1. Title: choose a title for your essay
2. Length: about 300 words, no more than 500 words – use Word Count
3. Format: at least 3 paragraphs
4. Sources: list source articles or website links that you refer to in your essay
5. Submission: submit online
a. First go to edublogs to set up your account; follow the instructions to set up your account display name, and also add
a headshop photo as your avatar; (choose any blog name for your self but please not that you are NOT posting on
your own blog);
b. Once you have set up an edublogs account (remember your account name and password–you will need them later),
go to this clog page at our blog site at Chinese4u.edublogs.org and navigate to this page or click the link provided;
c. Post you completed essay under comments, including your Essay Title and your name.
Please note that submission time is automatically recorded, All submissions will be approved by your instructor. Once submitted, you will have to wait for approval to see your essay online.
35 thoughts on “2019 Tacoma Moon Festival Reflective Essay”
I attended the Chinese Moon Festival in Tacoma. I arrived around 1:30 pm when some of the things around the festival were just starting to get going. Once I was inside, I looked around at some of the different things that were set up around the festival. After looking for a little bit, I went back to the front and met up with a fellow Puget Sound student and we got a tour around the whole area. It was interesting learning about some of the history and what happened all those years ago. I also sat down and listened to the mayor talking about this being the 25th anniversary of the festival in Tacoma.
When it comes to history, I learned a lot about some of the horrible people that forced the Chinese people out of Tacoma and made the bill that would force about 750 citizens away. Once the bill was passed, about 500 of the citizens made their way out before November 1st, which was the day that the Chinese citizens would be physically forced away. When it got to that day, just over 200 people were forced to walk to the train station and onto trains to be taken away to other places like Portland.
It was very interesting listening to some of the people talking and seeing how much history there really is for the Chinese culture within Tacoma. I enjoyed seeing all of the people that came out to see the event and took my time to look around at the different tables that had been set out that show a lot of Chinese culture. I think I would definitely go back next year to see more things, hear from more people, and taste some more Chinese food alongside the other people of Tacoma.
Tacoma Moon Festival Reflective Essay
Cultural celebrations can become an integral part of international communities. By going to the Tacoma Moon Festival, I was able to open my eyes to a different kind of celebration and learn more about Chinese culture. I also learned how Tacoma has been shaped by Chinese immigration and why festivals like this are important to its community. Experiencing other cultures through traditional celebrations can both educate people on those cultures while also giving them a firsthand look into why those celebrations matter.
When going to the Moon Festival, I had very few expectations. I knew that I could try some tasty treats and see some performances, but I didn’t understand why the festival was so important to Tacoma. However, after arriving, I realized that it gave minority communities a place to gather and share their cultures with the rest of Tacoma. There were Samoan dancers performing to traditional music as people speaking English, Chinese, and Spanish milled around and talked about the festival. The smell of freshly steamed pork buns wafted through the park as little kids played and their parents went to pick up some food to take home with them. There were also groups of students having a tour of the park and learning about why it’s called a “Reconciliation” park. Everyone seemed to be enjoying themselves, and connecting over shared experiences.
Through this, I learned that I don’t know very much about Chinese culture. Even though I grew up in LA surrounded by a large Chinese immigrant population, I never really learned about their traditions or celebrations. After having gone to this festival, I want to learn more about the different cultures that surround me and actually try to connect with some of them (either through attending events like this or doing research on those places). If I could change anything, I would have gone earlier in the day and seen more of the performances. Because I showed up later, I was unable to see a lot of the event (specifically the 2pm performance that was recommended to us). Even with this minor setback, I thought the experience was very useful and a fun way to learn more about Chinese culture and Tacoma’s history in regards to immigration. Learning about these things in a classroom setting can be interesting, but being able to see the celebration firsthand was completely different and allowed me to appreciate the history of it even more than before.
In conclusion, the Tacoma Moon Festival was a fantastic experience. It allowed me to open my eyes to a culture that I had never experienced before, and learn more about the city that I now call my home-away-from-home. I connected with strangers over a mutual curiosity and was able to somewhat satiate that curiosity through listening to other people’s stories about the relationship between Chinese emigrants and Tacoma. I would recommend this trip to anyone who is looking to study Chinese culture or language, and encourage everyone to take advantage of the opportunity to expand their horizons through attending traditional events like this one.
During my time volunteering at the Chinese Moon Festival this year I got to enjoy meeting a lot of new people. It was interesting to see people from so many different backgrounds of all different ages coming together to celebrate this tradition. Unfortunately I had to leave before the festival really got started, so my exposure to Chinese culture was limited to learning the word 蘋果 and trying out meat dumplings for the first time. Even so I was left curious and wanted to learn more about the origins of the moon festival.
I Checked out an article about the moon festival and was surprised to learn just how far back this tradition goes. It turns out as far back as 3,000 years ago emperors in ancient China worshiped the moon. They would worship the autumn moon believing it would bring good harvests the following year. This was eventually adopted by all the people and the tradition evolved into making sacrifices for the moon goddess. According to the article I read on “Chinahighlights.com” the term “mid-autumn” first appeared in books from the Zhou dynasty around (475-221 B.C.). However the practice of eating moon cakes to celebrate didn’t arise until around (1279-1368) in the Yuan Dynasty. So we are talking about a tradition that has evolved from thousands of years of practice.
Even today new ways of celebrating are still being introduced, as it was relatively recently made into a public holiday in 2008. Unfortunately some people do just see it as an excuse to get out of work or school, but it is still a time for family gathering. I’m glad that I was introduced to such an ancient tradition that I had no previous knowledge of, and hope to celebrate it’s coming again next year!
Source: “The Origins and History of China’s Mid-Autumn Festival” by Fercility September 9, 2019. from the website Chinahighlights.com
Moon Festival Reflection Essay
On September 21,2019 I went to the Tacoma moon festival. The moon festival was at the chinese reconciliation park. I went with some of my friends to experience part of my culture and get familiar with the Washington community. I went with Reid, Jordan, and Wil. It was a great time. Moon festival is a day were you celebrate your family and friends. The other name that is less common for moon festival is called The Mid-Autumn Festival.
At the festival there were so many things to do. They had a lantern making booth were you could build your own lantern. I got a purple lantern and Reid got a yellow and purple lantern. The lantern signifies a wish for a bright future. Usually the lanterns come in red, but they also come in colors for fun decorations. The color red is a big thing in China. It signifies happiness,wealth, and good luck. Me and Reid also got a calligraphy decorated fan. The characters on our fans were the snake symbol. Me and Reid are born 2001; there for our zodiac animal is the year of the snake. When we got our fans we had a conversation with the man. He was the third and fourth year teacher. It was cool that we could have a conversation with him and understand it. We all greeted our selves formal and informally.
Overall my experience at the moon festival was good. I celebrate moon festival with my parents back home. So it was nice to have a part of home come to Washington with me. It was different but, I enjoyed seeing everyone so happy about this celebration. I enjoyed that the community participated in the moon festival. Hopefully me and Reid can go celebrate the moon festival next year together.
Daniel Espinoza Vega
2019 Tacoma Chinese Moon Festival Reflective Essay
I first heard of this event through Justin Loye. When I told him that I’m beginning to take Chinese 101 with you professor, he got extremely excited and said that I MUST volunteer at the Tacoma Chinese Moon Festival. I look up to Justin Loye a lot, so I value what he says because I know he’s looking out for my best interest. Given this, I knew I wanted to volunteer at the Moon Festival. I was very excited to go. In terms of the material covered during the moon festival, my Brother is currently a history major in SF state. His emphasis is in Chinese history so he knows a lot about the Chinese Exclusion Act and stuff. He would tell me a whole lot about this, so I have a small background in the history. Going to the talk with Andrew Gomez helped a lot. I heard things about the Chinese Expulsion in Tacoma but I didn’t really know THAT much. One of the biggest things that I found very fascinating about the talk was how historians are able to measure the Chinese population through sandbox mapping throughout the city. I didn’t hear much about the framework of nativism and hearing him answer the question of the tenants of which how nativism operates was very like wow. I remember hearing him say that “it’s like a playbook” because in order to weaponize the power behind nativism, he said 1) there needs to be a financial insecurity, whether it’s real or magic and 2) need rhetoric to be legitimized, so you need powerful people to say it so it can be weaponized. Also, hearing Andrew Gomez and you saying this too professor, about how the Chinese were seen as non-assimilatable because they were easy targets, due to them working hard for fewer wages but especially with how much they stand out since they looked different. All of this information really helped with entering the Chinese Moon Festival itself.
Now to talk about the Chinese Moon Festival itself, I developed feelings of Nostalgia. I was born and raised in San Francisco. I remember in Elementary School, every year, we would have some sort of Chinese Festival where there are dragon dancers. I was brought back by memories of the people dancing, every year, kicking a watermelon at the end and all the students being amazed at the guts of the watermelon being splashed everywhere. Now I’m questioning, why? What’s the symbolism behind the watermelon and kicking it? Anyways, that part of the Moon Festival brought me back to those moments as an elementary schooler. I found it really cool how it was the 25th anniversary of Sister-City Relations between Fuzhou and Tacoma. It’s like wow! It’s really amazing to see the relationship very openly. It was also fun seeing the Mexican Dancers and Chinese Tamale. They seemed to be talking a lot about celebrating diversity within Tacoma which was really nice seeing people come out together in celebration!
Moon Festival Essay
Tacoma Chinese Reconciliation Park
A beautiful place with a sad history
Because I was gone all weekend I unfortunately missed the Moon Festival but will certainly go next year. Instead I went to a lecture about the park where the festival is held where Lao Shi and Professor Andrew Gomez taught us about the reason the park is so significant. I had visited the park many times before and really enjoyed it each time I went, but never really knew the history behind it. The park itself is absolutely gorgeous and features many symbolic landmarks, such as the pathway through the middle that has large stone pillars to represent the many obstacles Chinese Immigrants faced in Tacoma and America in general.
While the park is a nice spot on a sunny day the history behind is what makes such an important part of Tacoma’s history and future. In the 1880’s there was a wave of anti-Chinese rhetoric and violence that swept through the Western coast of the Nation. In order to build the Transcontinental Railroad many Chinese people had moved to Tacoma and settled down. At the time Tacoma had about 700 Chinese residents making up about a 10th of the population. A large number of which lived in a place called little Canton. Similar to many of the other waves of Nativism that have taken over the country it started due to financial issues. The economy was in trouble and looking for a scapegoat the government began to blame the Chinese. They wore very different clothes and had very different customs so they were an easy target. You began to hear how they were taking jobs that should go to white Americans, despite the fact the purposely went into industries that were understaffed and needed more workers. The violence started when government officials including Tacomas Mayor started using that hate speech themselves, legitimizing it. It got to the point that all of the 700 Chinese residents were told they had to leave on threat of violence and cruelty. To keep themselves and their families safe 500 of the residents left by the time the deadline to leave came around, but many of the Chinese people living in Little Canton were deeply rooted in the community and had actually lived there longer than most of the people telling them to leave, so they stayed. It wasn’t until a couple days after the deadline that the remaining people were rounded up by a vigilante group, brought to the edge of town, and little Canton was burned down.
The park itself is built where little Canton once stood, but was only built 100 years after the incident when the city finally decided to apologize for what happened. When it comes to the future it personally scares me to see how legitimizing hate speech can lead to such despicable acts of violence and cruelty. I hope that the park serves as a reminder as to what “fear of the other” can do to entire communities.
2019 Tacoma Moon Festival – Sophia Shepherd
The Tacoma Moon Festival took place on September 21 this year. As a celebration of Chinese culture in Tacoma, this year they focused not only on the harvest Mid-Autumn Festival, but also on the anniversary of the city’s relationship with sister city, Fuzhou, China. The festival was filled with performances, dances, and speeches as well as taking place in the beautiful chines Reconciliation Park.
As I entered the festival, I instantly felt welcomed and I was offered a tour by one of my peers from the University. Hopefully next year I will be able to volunteer! I came with a few of my friends and we were given a short tour of the history of Chinese immigrants in Tacoma and the horrible conditions they faced in the mid to late 1800s. I had a general idea of this history, but I had no idea how bad it actually was. Tacoma is very lucky to have rekindled and formed a strong relationship with the people it once despised. After our tour, we stopped to make lanterns and look at a few local museums’ booths. We then made our way to the food area. I ordered a “Chinese tamale,” chicken and sticky rice steamed in a large lotus leaf, and some green onion pancakes. My friends ordered steamed buns, pancit and lumpia (Filipino food), and spam sushi. We all thoroughly enjoyed our lunch! After eating, we looked at the few booths selling merchandise. I was fascinated by the Chinese papercuts and wish I would’ve gotten one! We also saw soap, beaded animals, small charms, and artists writing customized Chinese calligraphy out on paper. Unfortunately we missed most of the performances but the lion dancers and drummers walked by us on the beginning of their show and that was pretty cool! We also were able to listen to the mayor of Tacoma speak while we were waiting for our food.
I really had fun at the festival! It was a beautiful day and I was able to learn more about something I think is very cool. I really admire Chinese culture, and I think it’s important to immerse oneself in both the language and culture when trying to learn one or the other. Again, hopefully next year I will be able to volunteer and I’m already looking forward to trying some new food!
Chinese Moon Festival Reflection
As I attended the Tacoma Chinese Moon Festival today, I had a fun time experiencing things that were from a different culture (food, traditional calligraphy, watching ancient plays). Aside from experiencing ancient Chinese culture at the festival. The factor that I think brightened up my experience today was having friends to enjoy the festival with me. Today was a fun and memorable experience and one that I will be glad to share with others.
First, when I arrived at the site, I joined up with a small group of fellow Chinese 101 UPS students and wondered around for a bit, observing what festivities there were. While walking around the site, I saw the theater site where performers performed plays, food tents were Chinese dishes were being served along with moon cake sample tasting and cups of cookies, souvenir tents for shopping, and a cool view for looking at the water. In the time I was there, the souvenirs I bought were a cup of cookies that tasted great, a cool Tacoma Moon Festival t-shirt as a memento, and a flawless piece of calligraphy with my name in Chinese written on it.
Second, after getting some souvenirs I strolled through the site and walkways with the friend group I was with throughout the event and thought about what I believed can make this experience better in one way. The answer I came up with was if my family was there with me. I thought this because when I saw other students from UPS at the festival, I noticed that some of them had their parents with them. I believed that if my parents were their I would have felt a little more comfortable to have them and some friends there with me. This experience at the Tacoma Chinese Moon Festival was one of fun, experience, and more fun.
This past weekend I attended the Tacoma Moon Festival, which was not only celebrating the holiday but it was also an event that was showing how Tacoma as a city has moved past its discrimination towards the Chinese and Chinese immigrants. In order to demonstrate how apologetic Tacoma was for expelling Chinese immigrants in 1885 a delegation from the sister city Fuzhou. It was a fun experience and I am glad I went because I learned new things but it also was nostalgic for me.
I have grown up celebrating the Autumn Moon Festival in Phoenix and Hong Kong. Since I was adopted, my mom wanted me to continue to be a part of my birth culture. It was interesting to experience this festival at different ages. Something that I remember consistently throughout my experiences celebrating this festival is the food. While I was living in Hong Kong, I was able to try many different types of mooncakes because they made both traditional ones and those with a more modern twist. This time I was able to eat some mooncakes. This festival is very family based so it was weird not being with my parents but it was fun celebrating with new friends. Not only did this festival evoke emotions from me because of my past times experiencing these celebrations, but I also learned more about the Chinese history in Tacoma. This festival took place in the Tacoma Chinese Reconciliation Park which is honoring the relationship Tacoma has with China and apologizing for their actions. As an Asian American it was interesting to see how the city has recovered and moved past this time in its history, not forgetting it, but trying to make an effort to rebuild a relationship with China. The delegation from Fuzhou also brought performers to share some of the art culture from China. It was interesting to see what they chose to display and the performances were all beautiful, as well as the costumes
I have taken Mandarin before but I lost a lot of it since I haven’t practiced it. I am super excited about being in this class not only to recover my Mandarin, but to also learn more about Chinese culture. Though I have experienced some aspects of Chinese culture from living in Hong Kong, it is interesting to see it in different parts of the world and be able to understand it as a whole.
Reflections through Time
Essay by: Kylee Arnold/Lí xīangwěi 梨香偉
As an individual who has lived their entire life in the Pacific Northwest, it was only a few years ago that I learned about the expulsion of the Chinese from Tacoma in 1884. I was not only shocked and appalled at the raw nature of the event, but at my own ignorance to a crucial part of history in a place I considered my home. Moving through the world as a bi-ethnic female gave me access to other experiences, I thought. I saw the world through the eyes of a group that was and continues to be oppressed by society at large. How could I, as a woman in this community have not been privy to the events which transpired more than one hundred years ago that still echo in the Tacoma area today?
Stepping into Reconciliation Park offered me the space and pause to consider these things on Sunday. I had walked in the Park when it was still mostly dirt a few years ago, existing only as a memory of history and ideas for the future. The gardens were beautiful, the architecture striking, and the words of the past were printed permanently on information boards to be seen and heard in the present. But how much has changed? I wondered. The Northwest Detention Center is not far from Reconciliation Park, starkly contrasting the open and inviting space with the images of bars and concrete walls.
I hear: ‘They are taking our jobs!’ from individuals who feel their livelihoods are in jeopardy from illegal immigrants. According to an article in the South Sound Talk, this is a sentiment heard more than a hundred years ago as well: “The white settlers blamed the Chinese for the lack of work and the low wages being offered for what scant jobs could be found (South Sound Talk, 2016). Reconciliation Park represents far more than positive steps taken by the community to acknowledge the hurt done to the Chinese community in Tacoma. This Park represents the desire to prevent something like this from happening again. I did not think a simple visit to this Park would open up this wealth of emotion within me, and yet here I am today looking at the surrounding world with renewed eyes. Eyes I thought could see deeper as a bi-ethnic person, eyes that have witnessed my own family friends being taken, detained and expelled. I am grateful for the chance to enter the Park again, and hope it continues to be a beacon for positive remembrance and change.
South Sound Talk. (2016) “Why Doesn’t Tacoma Have a Chinatown?” Retrieved from http://www.southsoundtalk.com/2016/12/08/why-doesnt-tacoma-have-a-chinatown/
Tacoma Moon Festival 2019
Even though I’ve lived in Tacoma for basically my whole life, I was never really exposed to the Chinese Reconciliation Park or the Moon Festival until I came to college at UPS. I have friends who are involved with the Asian Studies/Chinese department and that’s been my main exposure to the language and culture. I went to the Moon Festival both my freshman and sophomore year, but this is the first time I went to actually think about the culture behind it.
I think what is interesting about the Moon Festival is the wide variety of people you see there. In one way or another all the people who attend the festival have some kind of connection to Chinese culture or to the community. Another thing I find interesting about the festival is that although it does represent the Chinese community in Tacoma, the festival also hosted a wide variety of performers from other cultures. Along with the Chinese orchestra, there were mariachi and marimba performances. It’s really interesting to see all these different cultures being represented at the festival. The history that’s associated with the park is also something that’s really cool about the Moon Festival. The Moon Festival serves as a platform to inform and educate the public about the history of Tacoma as a city. Growing up here, I knew vaguely about the history of Chinese expulsion, but going to the Moon Festival over the past couple years has exposed me to that part of Tacoma’s history more than the average person.
The Moon Festival is a great event in the Tacoma community and is something that everyone should attend at east once. It gives people a way to interact with Chinese culture and to learn about the history behind the city of Tacoma. It was a good experience to go not just for fun and to think about the bigger picture behind the festival.
September 22, 2019
Moon Festival Reflection Essay
I participated in the Tacoma Moon Festival on September 21, 2019, at the Chinese Reconciliation Park. I went with my friends Tess, Jordan, and Wil we had a great time. We had a hard time finding parking because there were many people from the local community who came to join. It just showed how many people support and try to protect the Chinese culture in Tacoma. I was very excited to go to the Tacoma Moon Festival and had no idea what to expect.
Upon arriving at the festival the entrance was a little underwhelming. I got to make a Chinese lantern, I made a purple and yellow one and Tess got a purple one as well. We then decided to explore the festival more and followed the trail to a huge market of tents. The park was so beautiful, right by the water, it was such a gorgeous day it was perfect for the festival. The tents were full of an amazing variety of items. There was so much to look at and great food. We stayed and listened to the Fuzhou Day Greetings and Performances but we didn’t stay for the performances because we saw 老师 and got to say hi. We then went to the tent were O 老师 and Shun 老师 were and got a fan. We introduced ourselves in Chinese to the teacher writing the calligraphy on the hand fans. It was very interesting and entertaining to watch and made me excited to learn later how to do calligraphy. It looked very challenging and complex. We then went to the water and just observed the whole festival. The Chinese Reconciliation Park was so amazing I am glad that I got to go and experience the Tacoma Moon Festival.
I had a great time at the Tacoma Moon Festival, I am so grateful for the opportunity to experience this amazing welcoming and inclusive event. I got to witness how accepting Tacoma is of other cultures and how they embrace everyone in the community. I also got free lanterns and a fan. I plan and am excited to go back again next year.
This year, volunteering at the Tacoma Moon Festival exposed me to a new community of helpful and hard-working people through working with them to put together the festival in the morning. I also learned about the traditions of the Chinese Moon Festival by talking with some of the organizers of the event and attending the festival later as a guest instead of a volunteer. Through this, I got to watch a traditional Chinese dance and listen to the performers to sing a traditional Chinese song.
When I woke up on Saturday morning at 7 am, I was not particularly excited to go volunteer because I wanted to stay in bed and sleep in. However, once Lo Sun Perry pulled into the parking lot in her minivan, which I learned is somewhat of an icon from older students, I knew that my morning was going to be pretty good. I put on a Tacoma Moon Festival t-shirt and followed Lo Sun Perry down to the Reconciliation Park where we had breakfast and met some of the other volunteers. As I got to know people like Jill throughout the morning, I learned how committed they were to making the festival a fun experience for everyone who came. This inspired me to follow along and make sure that I was doing everything I could do to make what we set up the best it could possibly be. Through troubleshooting tents and adjusting the display of the lanterns and posters that were hanging above, I found that while it wasn’t the most fun, it paid off in the end because everything looked good and presentable.
As someone who enjoys cultural exposure and immersion, the Tacoma Moon Festival was an excellent opportunity for me to see more of both traditional Chinese culture which was showcased as part of the celebration of Fuzhou Day as well the greater Tacoma community. Between the food, performance art, and vendors of various crafts and products, the Moon Festival proved to be a pleasant and educational experience.
Upon arriving at the Festival at around 5 o’clock on Saturday evening, the first thing I saw was a traditional Pacific Islander dance being performed by three women from the Lanuola Samoan Performing Arts Academy along with the recitation of a story. In comparison to most western dance that I have been exposed to, this performance seemed to involve less movement overall and be more focused on the outfits and synchronization. After a little time to check my expectations, I found the dance to be beautiful and compelling. The somewhat minimal movement served to accent the storytelling incredibly well and the joy and purpose that the performers felt while dancing was palpable.
Because I have quite a few tattoos, I was also very interested to hear the description of tattooing as an age old custom that has been practiced by Pacific Islanders for generations. Due to the stigmas that surround tattoos in the US and many other countries, the knowledge that even if my tattoos in particular do not have cultural significance, an appreciation for the art of tattooing is rooted for many in their heritage and cultural legacy is very comforting to me.
Before I left, I was lucky enough to get to sample mooncakes. Because I wasn’t present for the mooncake tasting in class, this was the first time I had ever tried them. Although the texture and flavor were both very unlike anything I had ever tried, I enjoyed them immensely. I may or may not have sent friends back in shifts so that we could all eat our fill.
17 September 2019
Moon Festival Reflection
The Tacoma Moon Festival was a great reflection of the abundance of Chinese culture in Tacoma. It is an annual celebration used to celebrate the diversity of culture that has grown over 150 years in Tacoma. While at the park, I was able to read about the history of the Chinese Reconciliation Park and the expulsion of the Chinese people from Tacoma. In 1885 on the 3rd of November, a group of people from Tacoma gathered all of the Chinese people in the city (around 200 people total) and escorted them out of the town. The following day, some Tacoma citizens burned the shops and homes of Chinese citizens in their settlement along the water. This was the peak of the anti-Chinese sentiment in Tacoma in the 1880s during the Chinese Exclusion Act to prevent Chinese immigration to the United States. In much later years, the ramifications of this event lead to the formation of the Chinese Reconciliation Project Foundation (CRPF) in acknowledgment of the expulsion of its Chinese residents in the 1800s and to the development in 1993 and the opening of the Chinese Reconciliation Park in 2010. The name “Reconciliation Park” explains that the park was a gesture of acceptance and peace after a time of turmoil and hate.
In regards to this specific festival, this year the focus was on Tacoma’s sister city of Fuzhou, as it is the 25th anniversary of their Sister City relationship. As part of this celebration, the visitors from Fuzhou performed, and those performances were an amazing representation. In addition, the festival hosted some professional instrumentalists from the Seattle Chinese Orchestra and there was a performance of Beijing Opera by Seattle’s Hwa Sheng Chinese Opera Club.
Apart from the performances, the thing I personally appreciated the food the most, as it was incredible. My friend and I got pork buns and a chicken bowl to share from one of the stands near the stage and they were delicious. The Moon Festival itself also offered a moon cake tasting, similar to the one that happened on campus through the Chinese program. There were also tea presentations and calligraphy experiences to observe common Chinese traditions.
The Significance of History and Culture
Each structure at the Chinese Reconciliation Park has an important role in expressing the background revolving around the park. There are some structures, such as a pile of burnt wood, that often would get looked over or seen as misplaced. However, through indulging in a tour of the park at the Moon Festival, I have learned that each piece is symbolic towards the events and emotions connected to Chinese expulsion in 1885.
The most significant aspect to me while attending the Moon Festival was learning about the history of each structure displayed throughout the park. The tour was a huge eye opener to the mistreatment that Chinese endured and that insignificant items to me were of great importance to the Chinese who were being forced to leave. Frivolous items in my eyes represented the heartbreak and the idea of losing a home in their life which lead me to feel a new appreciation each individual detail of the park entailed.
Looking back at the history, the Chinese were horribly mistreated, but the Moon Festival represents the mistreatment that was overcome. After learning about the history and leisurely walking through the festival, I have come to realize the pride connected to Chinese culture but also the idea of connecting cultures and people. The festival is open to everyone and a multitude of people of various backgrounds and races come together to learn more about the history of the park and Chinese culture. The festival represents the growing support that Tacoma has for the Chinese but also shows how the people of Tacoma are connected beyond different cultures and race.
While attending the Moon Festival, I have come to understand the importance of small details that represent more than what the blind eye sees. Through celebrating one culture people from many backgrounds can enjoy the company of each other and learn about the history of their community. Just as there is hope to add to the reconciliation park, there is hope that the community will continue to grow in support of the diverse heritages that are mixed within the society.
My Experience with the Tacoma Moon Festival.
Being a senior, I have been to the Tacoma Moon Festival before and have heard a little about the history and the importance of the Chinese Reconciliation Park. However, the amount of history was no where to what I have learned during this past week. By attending the informational sessions/talks and the tour at the park I was able to get a closer look at what happen in 1885 and what led to the establishment of the park today. The significance of the park as a symbol is more than just the past, but also represents the present and the future. When walking around the park, I felt the importance around me. I hoped that during the Moon Festival that others would come enjoy the beautiful park and recognize symbolic messages around the park while celebrating a significant Chinese festival. I had fun volunteering throughout the day. I got to meet and connect with many people that I would not have had a chance to meet otherwise. It was nice seeing many people from a variety of backgrounds working together to make the festival as great as it could be.
Tacoma Moon Festival: A Community Event
As I walked into the beautiful park, I heard music, laughter, and overall happiness from the crowd. I saw children playing, parents talking, volunteers painting faces, making food, and art all contributing their little piece to make this festival successful. I realized this isn’t just a gathering of similar people this is a community event, an event that reminds me of home and of being a little kid running around with a face painting playing with my friends. The feeling of the festival feels warm and welcoming a place where parents bring their kids and feel safe having them run around and play. The festival is a community event a place to bring old friends and make new ones. I participated as a festival attender with very little connection to Tacoma or the Moon Festival, I listened to the music, checked out all the different booths and vendors, but for me the biggest take away was the sense of community.
I participated as a festival attender I decided to explore and see what I could find. I checked out the booths, the food trucks and the people. For me it was really helped me with Chinese after hearing it spoken in a non-classroom environment. Hearing friends talk to friends, and parents talking to their children really immersed me into the language as I tried to pick out certain words as a walked along. I listened to the music and the different rhythms and sounds which are so rarely used in western music. As a festival attendee I got to walk around and enjoy the beautiful park and look at the different art pieces and enjoy the unique well thought out design of the park. I am glad that I was participating as an attender Because it gave me the freedom to explore and enjoy the park and the festival in my own way.
All together the Tacoma Moon Festival blew me away. The festival reminded me of my own community and festivals I have grown up with. It immersed me in the language hearing it spoken in the out in the open and in a natural setting. The festival showed me an amazing park and made me excited to keep taking Chinese to become more involved in the Chinese culture. It was such an amazing event and I am so glad that I got to experience it.
Moon Festival and Nostalgia
My two sisters and I are all adopted from China. My parents made a big effort to keep us culturally connected and enrolled us in a Chinese immersion school during early elementary school. I remember celebrating Chinese New Year both in school and at home. When you mentioned the Moon Festival I recognized the name but couldn’t remember the significance or stories associated with it. I texted my Mom after class and of course she remembered it. Slowly memories and stories about it crept back into my head. I flew home for the weekend and we were able to find a couple of old books about it. We were looking for one in particular and we concluded that my older sister was hiding it somewhere. In the end we found a book about Chinese holidays and the stories behind them. The book we found is called Moonbeams, Dumplings & Dragon Boats by Nina Simonds, Leslie Swartz and The Children’s Museum, Boston. I became a little nostalgic when she showed me the cover. I hadn’t seen many of the books and flashcards we found for probably close to a decade.
Their story tells of a couple that wants to become immortal because they love each other so much. After the man receives a pill of immortality, his wife becomes jealous and swallows it instead. She begins to float into the sky and gets trapped in the moon. As she lands she coughs up the pill and a jade rabbit sprouts from it. Soon she becomes the Goddess of the Moon and her husband becomes the God of the Sun so they can be near each other. On the 15th of every month she is allowed to visit her husband. It is rumored that on that day the moon shines brighter because they are reunited. After reading the story, memories came flowing back. I remembered that jade holds much significance in China so the rabbit must be important. I remember eating some kind of mooncake in school and I can’t remember if it was for the Moon Festival or the New Year. A short excerpt prefaces the story and it explains when the Festival happens and some traditions that come with the holiday. It explains that the Moon Festival honors the Goddess of the Moon and the holiday holds a special significance for women.
I was excited to take Chinese and I was hoping that I’d remember more but it’s been a lot of fun to learn the words and characters again. I’m excited for the New Year, I know there’ll be a lot of red, dancing dragons, dances and music.
As we walked towards the park, we could feel it. Sounds of children playing and laughing, smells of food wafting through the chilly air, vibrant streamers swaying and dancing in the wind; we could feel the warmth before we were there. When we did finally reach the tents and the people, we were greeted with smiles and colorful paper lanterns that created a bit of sun in the cloudy sky. Already feeling the hum of joy, we continued on to the rest of the festival.
The sense of community was strong. Everywhere you looked there were groups of people, sometimes friends, sometimes family, that were talking and eating and interacting with one another. And people did not stay confined to their groups. They mingled, learning about the history of the festival and about each other. Community wasn’t just in the festival-goers; it could be found in the food (Chinese tamales) and entertainment (Mexican dancing) as well. I was surprised, but not unpleasantly; the blend of cultures contributed to a greater feeling of togetherness among the people there.
For me, it brought back a sense of nostalgia. As I sat with my friends, enjoying sticky rice and conversation, I was reminded of the gatherings I used to go to with my Chinese family. The adults would sit and talk, while the children would play and eat whatever fantastic foods the aunts and grandparents cooked. In a broad sense, that’s what the festival felt like. It was amazing to be part of an event where the vibe was that of a strange family gathering, where everyone was just focused on connection and having a good time with loved ones. I’m grateful to have been able to go with friends, sit, eat, talk, and just enjoy their company. The Tacoma Moon Festival reminded me of the importance of community and being grateful to have time with the people you love.
Tacoma Moon Festival Reflection
The Tacoma Moon Festival, organized by the Chinese Reconciliation Project Foundation, is a celebration where different cultures come together to perform and share their ceremonies and traditions with the community. My experience at the 7th annual Tacoma Moon Festival was informative, interesting, and enjoyable. I learned about the history behind the Chinese Reconciliation Memorial Park and the origin of the Moon Festival.
The Tacoma Chinese Reconciliation Park is a memorial reconciling the events of 1885 regarding Chinese workers and the city of Tacoma. In 1849, many Chinese workers emigrated to Tacoma in hope of a better life. Over time, more Chinese workers populated Tacoma as new projects needed labor. In 1873, the economy slipped into a depression and the people of Washington began to blame Chinese workers for the cause of it. This led to city leaders along with local citizens to enact an expulsion of the Chinese from Tacoma. On November 3rd, 1885, a riot was organized and over 200 Chinese workers and immigrants were forcefully driven out of Tacoma. Over the next 30 years, Chinese people were discouraged from coming to Tacoma. Those events caused me to think about the Japanese internment camps in San Francisco during the 1940s. In the past, when there was an economic crisis or slump in the US, people often turned to immigrants and other communities as the source of the problem. I am happy that Tacoma has reconstructed the bridge between Chinese people and I think that the Chinese Reconciliation Project has led to more exposure and education on Chinese culture in Tacoma.
I learned that the Moon Festival, also called the Mid-Autumn Festival, is a celebration of the moon and what it symbolizes. Thousands of years ago, the ancient Chinese associated the moon with prosperity and good fortune and worshipped the moon for the harvest. Today, the festival is celebrated similar to Thanksgiving where families reunite and have dinner together and admire the moon. At the Moon Festival, I saw people enjoying themselves and bonding with their families and it made me think about my family and how important family is. As I left the festival I felt happy and excited to learn more about Chinese holidays and culture.
My Experience at The Tacoma Moon Festival
While first arriving in Tacoma over a month ago, I noticed the Chinese reconciliation park and became very interested as to why it was there. The physical structures within the park are very beautiful and I am very happy I had a chance to see the park in its full glory. One of the things that I noticed at the festival was the amount of people there that were volunteers. Other than the food vendors, most everyone was there because they care about the heritage and want to give back to the community by spreading their knowledge on the subject.
Something that surprised me was the variety of singing and dancing. Since it was the Chinese Moon Festival, I was expecting only Chinese traditional dancing and singing. Instead, there were also people who performed samoan dances and other styles. This was very interesting to see because I was able to sit and eat my pancit noodles while watching some samoan dancing. Driving from campus and being able to see a completely different culture within a matter of minutes is such a privilege to see. Also, the first time I drove past the park, I thought that there was a Chinese temple there for worship and I was unaware of the history. While learning the true history of the park, I was happy that the city of Tacoma dedicated the park but it was sad to hear why it was really there and I am very fortunate to be able to spend time there.
I am very happy that I got the chance to visit the Tacoma Moon Festival and really explore the culture and obviously try more moon cakes. I did not know what to expect on the way to the festival but I was pleasantly surprised with my experience. While there I was able to connect more with my classmates and explore a beautiful location in my new home!
Luka A. Kitamura
23 September 2019
Tacoma Moon Festival Reflective Essay
Partnerships with foreign countries or cities are an amazing opportunity for everyone participating. Not only do they expose residents to new cultures and traditions, but they also establish a connection between two parties and their countries at large, which is something that increases in importance as the world economy keeps globalizing.
The Tacoma Moon Festival, for example, offers a special occasion to introduce a piece of Chinese culture to residents of Tacoma. This event also goes hand in hand with the sister city of Tacoma, Fuzhou, which sent performers and representatives to the festival. This was in fact a huge contributor to what made the festival feel very special, and even more rewarding to attend. Being able to see an excerpt from a Min Opera piece, for example, was something that otherwise would be very hard to experience in Tacoma, and although it is an opera, it was amazing to see and hear how different it was from the “normal” western opera we normally experience. Everything from gesture, body language, make-up, singing, acting, clothing, and storytelling was different than what we are used to, which in turn widens the horizon of our mind. Other events and activities such as moon cake tasting, more performances, or speeches were also a dive into Chinese and sometimes Fuzhou culture. All of which would otherwise be hard to experience for Tacoma residents, unless they actively sought them out.
So, as mentioned earlier, these events would not have been as impactful and amazing if it were not for the partnership with other places, in this case, Fuzhou. Having a connection and partnership for 25 years is also a great achievement and the speeches at the festival felt very sincere. And as the mayor of Tacoma mentioned in her speech, even when the president of our country might not be as welcoming, Tacoma definitely will be, which was a very powerful statement. I hope that this partnership will continue for many more years to come, and bring positive effects to all participating.
Tacoma Moon Festival Reflection Essay
On Saturday September 21st, I spent 4 hours of my day volunteering at the Tacoma Moon Festival. I volunteered as a docent where I spent the majority of my time giving tours to visitors of the festival. When I arrived at the festival around 11:50 am, I began to talk to all of the other volunteers, as we discussed our preparations and strategies for being docents. A half hour or so later, I took one woman on my first tour of the day. Even though I had already planned what I was going to say in my head, I felt myself stumbling through the tour as I tried to explain the history of the Chinese community in Tacoma and the purpose of the Reconciliation Park.
Although I thought my performance was poor, the woman who I gave the tour too seemed to understand everything I mentioned and then said that she had lived in Tacoma for over 25 years and never knew about the history of the Chinese community in Tacoma, or the existence of the park. She also noted that she was going to Fuzhou, China on a business trip on October 7th after I mentioned that this year was the 25th anniversary of Tacoma’s sister city relationship with Fuzhou. The most memorable part of the day for me was when a black Mercedes Benz Sprinter van pulled up and out walked 13 officials from the city of Fuzhou. Myself and another volunteer walked with them through the park to the Fuzhou Ting. One of the officials looked at me and started to speak Chinese. At this moment, I could not remember any of the Chinese vocabulary I had learned over the previous days, and I had to reply saying that I did not speak Chinese. I told myself that I would not want an instance like this to happen again, so I would start memorizing more conversational Chinese phrases.
I ended my volunteer shift around 4:30 and on my walk back to campus, including the very steep hill on N 30th Street, I thought to myself that the Moon Festival represents the best parts of Tacoma, and part of the reason why I chose to study here. Tacoma is a multicultural city with a history of immigrants contributing to the city. However, Tacoma has a history with numerous examples of racism and xenophobia. The Chinese Reconciliation Park serves as a reminder to embrace Tacoma’s multicultural identity, but to always be tolerant to immigrants and other minority groups, so no reconciliation parks will have to be built in the future.
2019 Tacoma Moon Festival
My experience of the Tacoma Moon Festival was nice. In my head I pictured the festival to be a little bit bigger, maybe have more food options? Or more local businesses there. I’m not too sure. But it realistically makes sense how little the festival is because of Tacoma’s history with Chinese people. For forty years Tacoma banned Chinese from coming into Tacoma, this caused Tacoma to be the only big harbor/ railway city on the pacific west to not have a Chinatown.
To start, Ari and I went together, we got there around 3 I believe, and the weather was like the perfect temperature for me; I remember being really satisfied with how I wasn’t too hot or cold. First thing we did when getting there was go find food. I got some noodles, a dough ball thing with pork in it and lumpias and it was all so good, for 17 dollars I defiantly got my moneys worth. After that we looked around the booths and talked to the people there about some of the décor. We then met up with some of her friends and sat on the rocks next to the ocean. Ari took pictures of her friends and we listened to the music playing, I think it was the Chinese orchestra that was playing. We then went to the little structure that had the musicians and entertainment and watched the orchestra preform their last five songs. It was very calming music, I enjoyed the string instruments. By that time, it was 6 o’clock and I was ready to go home.
Overall, I feel like the Moon Festival was a brief introduction to Chinese culture. I think that I would go again. I thought it was a cute little festival; not too busy or too empty. The atmosphere was lighthearted and friendly and I think I made a friend out of the event too.
I attended the Tacoma Moon Festival in the Chinese Reconciliation Park on Saturday, September 21 at 5:15pm, and stayed until 6:15pm. While I was there, there was a dancing/vocal group that was singing with audience participation which was entertaining to watch. Then, after that group had left, there was a much an orchestra with traditional Chinese instruments being played, which was very interesting. While I did not know the names of any of the instruments, the designs of them made me wonder whether they influenced/ were influenced by western musical instruments (one of the instruments looked similar to a guitar) or if it was just a coincidence that the two instruments looked similar.
As I walked around the park, I took in the beauty of the scenery both in and around the Festival. You could clearly see the water from the park. The pillars in the park were very imposing and walking through them I could just feel the history. I felt that the drawings etched into some of the pillars also added to the history that I felt. The scents of the traditional food brought back some memories of when I went to China, and it was somehow nostalgic even though it was not a very long time.
I think that going to the Moon Festival is a great opportunity that anyone could enjoy even if they have no background in Chinese studies. The songs that were played, even though they are different from songs that I at least listen to regularly, were still enjoyable to watch and listen to, and it was very easy to appreciate the skills and time that must have been put into the performances. Also just hearing everyone having a good time and enjoying themselves made the experience all the more fun.
Autumn Moon Festival
Prior to my introduction to the celebration in CHIN101, I had never heard about the Mid-Autumn Festival also referred to at the Moon Festival. Learning about the significance of the holiday and how it is celebrated was very heartwarming to me. I love the idea of family reunions and togetherness. It was also very interesting to hear about the cultural differences between legends about the moon. The common American myth is about the man in the moon, and while Chinese Japanese and Korean legends all share a girl and rabbit in the moon, but differ in story. Learning about this holiday has helped me not only understand Chinese culture a little bit more but also helped me make connections to similarities within my own background and synthesize that despite historical and geographical differences, our cultures share similar values for family.
The history with the Chinese community in Tacoma was also something I was unaware of. Even though I am not local, the Chinese expulsion and the creation of what is now referred to as the “Tacoma Method,” is history that is very important to understand and acknowledge in order to reconcile and provide an inclusive environment for all. One of the most provocative things I heard in class, “Why is there not a Chinatown in Tacoma when every other urban large city along the railroad does?” And while I have been to Chinatown in Manhattan, I never considered their cultural significance in other urban areas. The information I have received regarding the Chinese Reconciliation in Tacoma makes me more curious about the history of other cultures in every area I visit, and how we can actively combat discriminatory systems and actions in our communities.
Another surprise besides the history of the Chinese Reconciliation Park, about a half-hour, after I arrived at the festival, I heard very familiar, and seemingly out of place music. I was very pleasantly surprised to see the Bailandores de Bronce Mexican Dance, as I have seen very little Hispanic presence in my short time here at the University of Puget Sound. I was so happy to see that even so far from home there was a Mexican community and after their performance, many other cultures and communities got to be included, like the Jekesa Marimba Music from Zimbabwe, and the Lanluola Samoan Performing Arts Academy. I got to have a great conversation with Sūn lǎoshī about the inclusive purpose of the Chinese Reconciliation Park, to not only welcome the Chinese community but provide a place of cultural harmony and acceptance for diversity. My biggest take away from all of this has been that even though our University may not be the best representation of the diversity in our area, there are communities all over Tacoma that are inclusive and welcoming. There is a much larger world just outside of our campus, and getting involved is one of the best ways to contribute to the same opportunity that celebrates diversity and unity that the Moon Festival provided.
Halfway through my Tacoma Moon Festival experience, I lost the last of my cellular data, and I couldn’t communicate with the other team leaders or my team for the games we had planned in a couple of hours. This made the experience a bit stressful, since I didn’t have a full team available, and looking for backups was harsh, since I couldn’t communicate with the rest of the club. Because of this, I was only at the moon festival from 12:50 to about 1:40. I was able to see the Chief Leshi Shools Drum and Dance Troupe, which was pretty fun.
Drums in ancient Chinese culture were first only used as a majestic weapon for boosting an army’s morale when in battle, since the low thrum of the drum could be heard throughout the battlefield. It soon became the most popular instrument during the Zhou Dynasty, where it was used in temples during sacrificial ceremonies or during royal banquets. In modern times, the drums are used more for more festive activities, including but not limited to: weddings, historic dates, and national holidays.
The rest of the moon festival felt more like home. In San Francisco’s Chinatown, the streets are usually jam packed with celebratory lanterns, lion parades, food stalls, and in the evening, (although technically illegal) small fireworks would blast off onto nearby cars. Of course, the Tacoma Moon Festival that resided in a small park couldn’t even begin to match the chaos of SF Chinatown, but it still had it’s own charm. Everything was more… mellow. People were enjoying their time and food instead of trying to force their ways through jam packed, firework filled, smoke ridden, trash soaked streets, and that was a pleasant change. I enjoyed my time at the Tacoma Moon Festival. The food was great, the performances were great, and I just wish I had more time to experience the rest of it.
Tacoma Moon Festival – Kieran Berryman
Last Saturday I attended the Tacoma Moon Festival, a cultural event meant to celebrate China’s Mid-Autumn festival. The event in China is all about family, and getting together, celebrating each other. The Moon Festival is similar to a harvest festival, in that occurs at the end of the harvest season. However, the celebration is more focused on family, as I said, instead of focusing on being done with the harvest. The festival in Tacoma definitely embodied the feeling of family in a literal sense where I saw a bunch of families. As well as in a broader sense where I saw major acceptance of different cultures and things like that.
As I arrived at the festival I was greeted by a huge crowd of people entering a beautiful park with Chinese design. I saw tents offering tours of the park and its history. As well as beautiful sights onto the Puget Sound. As I made my way deeper into the park I was greeted by friendly vendors offering to write my name in characters, or trying to sell me delicious Chinese food, of which I might have partaken. Past the food stalls was a sort of Chinese gazebo, I’m not sure of the exact name. They had Chinese performances, as well as what sounded like a mariachi band. Which is going back to what I said in the first paragraph about family, and accepting people.
Overall, the moon festival was very fun, I saw a bunch of cool things and I ate some good food. Specifically, I had sticky rice with chicken served in what I think is a tea leaf. I was very appreciative of all the acceptance I saw going on and it was a fun time.
Tacoma Moon Festival Reflection
The Tacoma Moon Festival is an annual cultural event held in Tacoma at the Chinese Reconciliation Park. This year marks the 7th festival and the 25th anniversary of Tacoma’s Sister City relationship with the city of Fuzhou. While I have lived in Tacoma my whole life, this was the first year I have ever heard of the festival.
I decided I should participate more actively by volunteering since it seemed like a fun opportunity and an easy way to learn more about the Tacoma Moon Festival. I signed up for the morning set-up and was able to meet a bunch of new people. For instance, one girl I met is a senior this year and has attended the festival since her freshman year even though she is not in any Asian Studies program. This also reflected what I observed at the festival because most of the people there were from different cultural backgrounds and not just people that are from China. Additionally, I met a lot of upperclassman in Asian Studies programs and was able to become closer to people in my class. I was surprised by the size of the event since the park itself is not very big. I did not expect many people to come, but there was a lot of fun, interactive elements of the festival that attracted families, like the fan painting and paper lanterns. It was also really interesting to see the number of international students from local high schools that came to volunteer. One thing I regret is that I was only at the festival in the morning and part of the afternoon, so I missed most of the performances. I plan on attending again next year, and hopefully, I will be able to watch more of the performances.
Although I grew up in Tacoma, I have rarely been to the Chinese Reconciliation Park and only knew a little bit about its history. Through this experience, I was able to meet and connect with new people, as well as learn more about the city I live in. Attending the festival and volunteering was extremely fun and I hope I can come back next year and participate even more.
My participation in the Tacoma Moon Festival Consisted of attending, Bring along more people to witness in the celebration, along with being on the Tacoma Moon Festival Instagram page with the moon princess. This experience was something completely foreign to me is that I come from a community where I am mostly surrounded by Latinx people so the moon festival was a completely new experience for me but was very insightful and interesting.
As I arrived at the festival it was about five-thirty and I was able to witness traditional Samoan dance and learned the stories behind those dances. This connects with me on a different level being that I had seen these dances or have heard of Samoan stories but never truly took time to listen to the whole story or witness the whole dance as usually, it is a passing glance. As well as witnessing a traditional Samoan dance I was able to witness some young woman pay a variety of instruments and I had already seen O Lǎoshī’s daughter play a wind instrument which was amazing but these performers were extremely breathtaking how the music was so fluid and was a completely different sound that you don’t hear on a common occasion. Among witnessing these magnificent performances I was able to get a bottle opener that has traditional masks on either side of it along with a traditional Chinese fan with the encryption of this year, the year of the snake which is when I was born, and finally my Chinese surname, all in characters.
All in All, the Tacoma Moon Festival gets a 10/10 being that it is very intriguing and is a great way to immerse oneself in the chinses culture especially for us as first-year Chinese students and allows us to gain another perspective of the culture and shows us how beautiful it truly is.
The Tacoma Moon Festival was beautiful and I was so happy when the sun came out for the event! I was thinking a lot about my time in Taiwan while I was on my way to the festival. Before Taiwan the most exposure I had to Chinese culture was last year’s Tacoma Moon Festival. Last year I was able to volunteer and I spent the entire day at the festival hanging out with other volunteers and Tacoma locals. I remember witnessing how the community came together to throw such an amazing event. This festival is truly one of the highlights of fall. Despite spending nine weeks in Taiwan this summer, I still felt the same way I felt last year while heading to this year’s Moon Festival: excited.
I was excited to go to the festival because I couldn’t wait to see all the different stands selling tea and other delicious foods, and I was especially excited to see the community enjoying the beautiful weather together. I think there is a lot of extra meaning in the festival because of the fact that the park is a reconciliation park. It is very amazing to see how Tacoma can grow from its terrifying past and build something beautiful instead of burying over controversial history. The park was built as a monument to honor and acknowledge all the Chinese residents who lived in Tacoma and were forced to leave in 1885. The park is on a beautiful spot on the water overlooking the Puget Sound. Thanks to the Moon Festival I learned the location of one of Tacoma’s most beautiful spots.
Something new I learned at this year’s festival was that Tacoma is a sister city to the Chinese city Fuzhou. I was not able to see the performers from Fuzhou but I think it is a huge testament to the good relationship between the two cities. I did go to the stage before their performance however, and I saw the dancers painting their faces. I thought their face paint was beautiful and intense. I would have liked to learn more about the significance of their face paint.
This year I made a paper pig hat at one of the stands at the festival. This was my favorite activity from last year and I was so happy that I was able to do it again this year. I always like to talk to the people running the paper hat stand because they are always laughing and having a good time. I think laughing and having a good time is a major lesson of the Chinese Moon Festival. The festival takes place near the change of the season from summer into fall and the Moon Festival makes me very optimistic for the rest of my year. I think the Moon Festival is meant to be a great time to reflect on the past and look forward to the coming season. If I am in Tacoma next year, or even if I am in another city, I will make sure to celebrate the Moon when the season turns from summer into fall.
On Saturday I went to the Tacoma Moon Festival with my cousin, Emma, and one of her friends, both of whom are taking Chinese here at UPS. While we were there we watched a performance, tasted mooncakes, and looked at some vendors. This was the first festival for a Chinese holiday I had gone to, and I had a good time experiencing what Tacoma has to offer in that regard.
When we first got to the festival we went over to the stage where hula dancers were performing. One thing I found interesting was the inclusion of Chinese-Hawaiian culture in the festival – I wasn’t expecting it because it’s probably not something I would see at a Chinese festival in the Bay Area, where I’m from. The dancers performed a dance about tattoos and the narrator told us about how tattoos go back thousands of years on the islands and it was originally the women, not the men, that would get the tattoos. After we saw the dancers we went to say hi to Emma’s Chinese 201 teacher and look at some jewelry for sale. Then we sampled some mooncakes. I had a red bean paste and a lotus paste, both of which were delicious. I was surprised to find whole egg yolks in the cakes, something I had never seen in mooncakes before but was a good addition.
Overall, I had a very nice time at the Moon Festival. I learned some new things about Chinese culture and tried some delicious food. I would say my favorite thing that I did was watching the hula dancers. Though the festival itself wasn’t very big, I saw all kinds of people there from the Tacoma community and was happy to see people coming together to enrich their worldview and try new things.
The first thing I noticed was how small the park and festival were. When we drove there we first passed it because we didn’t notice it. I’m much more used to Chinese culture having more of a presence in a city (my frame of reference is Chinatown in San Francisco), so it was quite bizarre to see it sequestered to a thin strip of coastal land with only a temple building, an arched walking bridge, and a sculpture of rock pillars. This all being said, it makes sense to me that this park is where it is: twice while there we had trains pass us very closely to the park. This is the main point of emphasis I’m understanding the park is highlighting, the Tacoma Moment. The Tacoma Moment is a period of 40 years (approx 1880’s to 1920’s) where Chinese people were kicked out of tacoma and banned from entering. This already dark point in Tacoma’s history is an extra slap to the face considering that thousands of Chinese workers were the ones that made the Tacoma railroad. Actually, as I understand the history, its because the people of Tacoma thought the Chinese were taking their jobs by making the railroad that they elected to kick all of them out. It’s interesting continuous that trend it. Were seeing it now with Mexican immigrant workers now in America.
Another thing that struck me was the food selection at the festival. Cookies, Coffee, Phillopino food, ice cream, and “Potato Tornados,” a spiral of fried potato on a stick covered in various seasonings. The only distinctly Chinese food I saw being sold were mooncakes. I wonder why these foods were being sold. Because for all except the Phillopino food, the selection made me feel removed from the meaning behind the festival. Considering that this was a Chinese festival being hosted within Tacoma, I would’ve liked seeing by Chinese business owners or Chinese food. There was intentionality left to be desired in the selection, at least to me.
I got to taste a mooncake, which I hadn’t done before! I was honestly surprised– it wasn’t what I expected! It was very dense, rich, sweet and vaguely salty (I tried the lotus single yolk). They were also giving away free mooncake tins, which was delightful and now I have a fun piece of storage.
The past, present, and future of Chinese in the PNW
Before going to the mid-autumn festival on Saturday at the Chinese reconciliation park I had some basic information. I knew about the chinese Exclusion Act of 1882 and not only the push of Asian people to the west coast but the use of internment camps as well. This was all due to the fact that the American population, specifically white Californians at the influx of Chinese migrants, were afraid that the foreign labor would affect their economic success. But so many Chinese immigrants were hired for strenuous labor jobs such as the Northern Pacific Railroads. It was when these big projects began to be finished that an uproar against the Chinese came about, ultimately driving the entire Chinese population of Tacoma in 1885. It wasn’t until much later in that Chinese citizens began to come back to Tacoma in 1920.
Because of this horrible act and the way that the locals treated the immigrated Chinese Tacoma sought out a way to repay the formerly harassed community. It was resolved that a living memorial would be constructed to not only recognize the wrong doings that Tacoma had committed but to serve as a memory and hope that it will never happen again. Not only is the park symbolic but the location of it as well. The reconciliation park currently stands on a portion of the national guard site where the former chinese community had resided before being pushed out.
When I went to the reconciliation part last Saturday it was my first time going and I was shocked at first. I had expected a fully chinese festival with Chinese food like mooncakes, and chinese music and dancing. However, despite there being that, there was also a variety of other cultures celebrating dance and music as well. I thought it was wonderful that this reconciliation park not only supported the Chinese community but other people of color communities as well.