Reflective Essay is due on Tuesday (10/6) by 11:59 AM PST (before noon)
Please submit a Reflective Essay on your virtual tour 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: (if any) 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 note 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), come back to this page at this course blog site <Chinese4u.edublogs.org> and navigate to this page;
c. Post you completed essay under comments, including your Essay Title, word count, 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.
16 thoughts on “2020 Tacoma Moon Festival Reflective Essay”
Title: 2020 Tacoma Moon Festival Exploration
My orientation group last year was Tai Chi so we visited the Reconciliation Park and briefly spoke about the expulsion of Chinese from Tacoma, but looking at the resources on the Moon Festival website, I was able to learn more details about it. It was really sad to read about how the Chinese at Half-Moon Bay were forced to live in tiny, makeshift homes that we even eventually burnt down. It always shocks me to see such violent desires to push out diverse groups of people.
On a brighter note, I enjoyed looking through the videos on the website (especially the cooking videos). My hobby is cooking so I am looking forward to trying the mooncake recipes and sweet and sour pork recipe someday soon! It was also interesting to watch the video about “Holding Moonlight”. I like the idea that moonlight is magical during the time of the festival and that there is a lady of the moon that makes potions that heals women and children. Furthermore, the tradition of wishing good things unto the family under the moon seems like a lovely tradition that I think more people could benefit from doing.
The story behind why mooncakes are eaten is also very interesting. I had no idea that it was related to an uprising in the Yuan Dynasty to overthrow the Mongols. The fact that they utilized the mooncakes to hide notes that indicated there would be an uprising was super clever. I think the various things represented in the moon festival make the event very special and meaningful. The fact that there are a variety of stories from fantasy stories such as there being a moon goddess to historical stories makes the event more complex. I am curious to see if there will be more stories and traditions added as time passes.
Title: Still Learning 18 Years Later…
Submitted by: 許錫儀
Word Count: 324
I have been to the Moon Festival in previous years, so visiting it virtually was certainly different but it still provided the same level of engagement and fun!
Growing up in Tacoma, I was taught about the Chinese Exclusion Act of 1882 mainly by my family therefore, I had a little background knowledge about the act before going to the festival with my friends in highschool. What I didn’t know was that the law was one of the first to restrict immigration into the United States and the first to police immigration and see who was “fit” to enter the country. And to be completely honest I had spent most of my life on the other side of I-5 so I had never been to the North End until I went to highschool. I had never been to Chinese Reconciliation Park until I went to the Moon Festival in 2017. To learn that Reconciliation Park is one of the more impressive displays of recognition of the violent racism and civil injustices the Chinese people of Tacoma had faced, was kind of shocking (in a good way!).
As a child and now as a young adult, my family observed both the Lunar New Year and Moon Festival and we shared mooncakes during the Moon Festival like most Chinese families do, but I didn’t know why until watching “The Story of the Mooncake”. The story goes, towards the end of the Yuan Dynasty the Han army was planning to overthrow the Mongolian rule but they needed a way to tell the Han people of the uprising without being caught. So, military counselor, Liu Bo Wen thought to tell people that there was a disease going around that could only be cured by eating mooncakes! They then put little messages in the mooncakes alerting the people of the uprising. Since then people have been eating mooncakes during the Moon Festival to commemorate the night of the uprising.
Moon Festival From My Bedroom
(word count: 340)
I confused my family this weekend when I told them I was going to a moon festival after they asked me what I was doing holed up in my bedroom. Although a virtual festival definitely is not the most traditional of celebrations, it was still a great opportunity to learn about Chinese culture and connect with the Tacoma community.
The first thing to catch my attention was the food section of the festival. I have always enjoyed my Apo’s cooking and the moon cakes she would bring to me in the fall. I was intrigued by the “Impluwensiya” section. I have never had Filipino food, but I definitely would like to try it now. I recognized some of the foods in the cooking section with Chef Yanjie Lu. I think if I have time this fall I would like to try making the mooncake recipe.
Before this fall, I had never heard of the 1885 Chinese Expulsion. After learning about it, I drew similarities to other treatment of minorities in America such as the Trail of Tears or the Japanese Internment camps. Despite these ugly parts of American history, I think it is important to remember how far we have come and how much further we have to go in terms of equality. I cannot think of a better way to do so than to embrace a beloved Chinese celebration.
I explored a few other aspects of the festival including watching a few minutes of a performance and the storytelling. I really connected with the calligraphy activity. When I was younger I went to Chinese school on Sundays and we were allowed to choose our elective activities. I enjoyed the Chinese yoyo, Kung Fu, and calligraphy. From what I can remember it was really hard and I made a bit of a mess, but it was really fun to write Chinese in such a beautiful and artistic way. I hope I can try calligraphy again one day and enjoy all these aspects of this virtual festival in person in the future.
The Tea on the Moon Festival
Word count: 466
When I was younger, the moon festival did not have significance to me. Having looked at the Moon Festival website, as well as other websites, it makes me feel disappointed in the things I missed. It was also a bit overwhelming, to have so many different options and cultures all in one place. It was difficult to just pick a few things to go into detail about. But in the end, I decided to stick to something I already had an interest in, mooncakes and tea.
The mooncake recipe was something that I was really happy to see, even though we had gone into detail about mooncakes already in class. My dad and I are often late to celebrate festivals to the extent that we either buy the mooncakes when they are either stale and old. But NPR and the Washington post had an article about mooncakes that really helped me understand the significance of them. It’s not necessarily the mooncake itself that makes the festival so special, although it is of course one of the first things people think about. It’s more so about families or members of the community coming together to be with family and friends. Mooncakes are the treat shared within the family or group, but it’s the gathering of the group that has the most significance.
Tea is another thing that I was interested in learning more about. I like drinking tea, but it is usually from a box with individual packets already prepared to be steeped. I knew Chinese tea was more intricate, but I was unaware of the extent. All of the information I learned about chinese tea was from a link I found on the Moon Festival website, called “Tea Art of China”. The main thing I found interesting was the focus on every aspect of the tea. The article mentioned that there are five methods for choosing tea, xin, gau, jun, xiang ,jing. Out of all of those methods, I think the most surprising one I learned about was the focus on the color of the tea. I know that tea changes the color of the water, but I never thought there could be a right or wrong color for tea. It’s such a simple thing, but that’s what made it stick out to me the most.
Overall the Moon Festival was really new for me, despite the bit of experience I already had of it. Although I only talked about tea and mooncakes, there were also a lot of other different cultures and activities that I learned a little bit about as I was looking through the website. It’s disappointing that this wasn’t able to be in person, but I still look forward to when I can go to one without having to worry about dying.
Title: The Tacoma Moon Festival
Word Count: 412
This year, the Tacoma Moon Festival was celebrated online instead of in person. The virtual experience, I’m sure, didn’t do the in-person festival justice, but made me look forward to (hopefully) attending in-person next year! The virtual format, however, taught me a few new things about Chinese culture and about the Harvest festival itself!
One of the most interesting things I found on the website is that the Harvest festival is similar to the Chinese celebration of Thanksgiving, with celebrations centered around coming together, sharing food, and giving thanks. Another really interesting element is the symbolism in the Moon Festival Logo. The Jade rabbit, symbolizing selflessness, piety, and sacrifice is standing in front of the harvest moon and the view is of the reconciliation park from commencement bay.
I decided to watch LiHuang Wung’s presentation on Chinese calligraphy, an art that has been in practice for over 3000 years. Calligraphy has always been an interesting element of Chinese culture to me because it takes the simplistic writing of characters and turns them into an art form. It actually takes a lot of practice and is not as easy as it may seem! I found it interesting that there are four essential “treasures” of Chinese calligraphy: The brush, the ink stick, the ink stone, and the paper. The process of making the ink happens by putting water on the ink stone, and then rubbing the ink stick along the stone! Neat. Chinese calligraphy is all in the movement and steadiness of the wrist, as you can see if you watch LiHuang Wung’s brush strokes closely. Calligraphy is read from top to bottom, and from right to left, which is the opposite of how we know to read English!
Another important piece of Harvest Festival is drinking tea, and I liked what Jeffrey Mcintosh says about how tea should make you feel. It’s not just about the way that tea tastes, but the way it feels on the inside of your body. Good tea settles your stomach and makes you feel comforted and relaxed. It should also ease your breathing! I guess I’ve never had good tea because I’ve never experienced feelings like that from a cup of tea. I like the way Mcintosh talks about tea as if each tea has a different personality. Overall, I think I will definitely be drinking more tea in the future and actually paying attention to the way it makes me feel!
2020 Tacoma Moon Festival
I had the opportunity to visit the park during the Tacoma Moon Festival last year, but I had visited casually, without knowledge of the significance behind the Chinese Reconciliation Park and the city of Tacoma. I was surprised to hear about the specific architectural pieces, down to details that I hadn’t even noticed when I had visited in person, and the meanings behind them. For example, I remember seeing the Fuzhou Ting last year but to hear about the various details, from the 56 dragon heads inside the roof to the “beautiful lady’s bench,” and the history behind how it got built was fascinating. I got the strong impression how much thought went into the design of the park and it made me appreciate it that much more.
This year was also the first year I celebrated the Mid-Autumn Festival at home and, as part of that, I bought mooncakes with my friend. We ended up finding a variety box of snow skin mooncakes with different kinds of fruit fillings that was very good, and we shared it with our other housemates over tea. It was interesting to watch the different videos on the origin of mooncakes, as well as, the video on the many different types of mooncakes and fillings. I remember trying Cantonese style mooncakes with all the different types of fillings last year, so it was a happy
accident to find the Hong Kong snow skin mooncakes this year to try something new.
Overall, although it was unfortunate that this year’s Moon Festival couldn’t be in person, I still had a lot of fun with the virtual festival. I had fun browsing the different videos and it was nice that I could take my time with everything and comeback to things later as well. I definitely feel like I had the chance to learn more through this format, but I also can’t wait to revisit the park, especially now that I know more about it, next year.
(Word Count: 334)
Tacoma Moon Festival: Still so much to learn
Word Count: 400
When I came to school last year it was my first time being in Tacoma. My roommate had a car so she was always driving me around and we would drive past the Reconciliation Park and I would always ask her what it was (she was more of a local than I was). She never was able to give me a full answer. So one of my favourite parts about the Moon Festival was being able to read about what the park actually stood for. While it is unfortunate that we cannot experience the festival in-person, one of the beauties of it being virtual is that I was able to read up on the meaning behind the park in much more detail than I may have if it was held in person. It was really important to learn the meaning behind the park and understand the violence that had taken place.
We discussed in class a little bit about mooncakes, but I really liked getting to watch how exactly they were made and going more in depth about the meaning behind the mooncakes. Learning about the history of things is really intriguing to me and I had no idea of the vast history behind mooncakes, such as using the mooncakes to hide notes. If I have some spare time I will definitely try to make some along with many other recipes that they had on the website. Many of them I have eaten before but I have never actually tried to cook the recipes myself. Recipes aside, I just really enjoy watching videos of people cooking so this was also pretty interesting for me.
My mother is part Singaporean and part English and my dad is from Scotland so needless to say they are always drinking tea. However, they usually opt for tea bags since it is the most convenient. My mother has a lot of different tea pots and she occasionally will make other kinds of teas but very rarely. This is why the partition about tea making was especially interesting. I have always been around tea, and different ways of making it, but I had never really learned about the different methods for choosing teas. My mother is especially picky about the color of her tea and now I can see why after learning about the emphasis on tea color and how it can be right or wrong.
Lived in Tacoma my Whole Live, I Never Knew.
Word Count： 475.
At the start of my virtual journey on TacomaMoonFestival.org, I was surprised to see so many different cultures represented throughout the site (I was bad and skipped right to the performance tab when I first got on). I even saw cultures that are known not to celebrate the mid-autumn festival, like my own, Filipino and Japanese, and I wondered why they were there. After educating myself a little more, I finally understood why so many groups of people have come together to not only celebrate the mid-autumn festival, but to also remember the tragedy that took place here in Tacoma.
Through this experience I’ve learned about the dark history of my home town, the ethnic cleansing of the Chinese people in Tacoma done by community members and community leaders in 1885. Spurred by racist legislation, anti-Chinese sentiment, etc. the Chinese Community in Tacoma was forced to move out of their homes and onto trains that relocated them to Oregon. After they were forced out, the “rain-coat mob” burned down little Canton, their home, leaving barely a trace of their existence in Tacoma behind.
More than 100 year later, finally progress was made to rectify the past wrongdoings through the creation of the Chinese Reconciliation Project Foundation committee. In 1993, they helped realize the Chinese Reconciliation park. In that park, there is a pavilion that is built by people from Tacoma’s sister city, Fuzhou, China. The president of the Chinese Reconciliation Project Foundation wanted the pavilion to be a place “where all ethnic groups may come to converse about their problems and solutions… (it would be) a haven for children with different heritage to come and learn their background and self esteem”. It really is inspiring to hear those words. Not only has this park become a place of remembrance and reflection now, but also a symbol of interconnectedness and regaining/maintaining culture, at least for me. I feel like this is their way of also fighting cultural cleansing/ forced assimilation, by giving people who might’ve been denied the chance to learn about their own culture, the opportunity to do so by strengthening communities. I’m really happy to hear that there is now a type of place like this in Tacoma for younger people.
Lastly, my last stop on this website is tea! Taiwanese Oolong tea! The video talked about these three types of Oolong: Baozhong Tea, Oriental Beauty, and Dong Ding Traditional tea. Beyond that, I was educated on ways to enjoy tea. I never heard “smell the texture of the tea” (is it light?), “see where the smell will go” (like where the smell goes in the body. Does it stop in the nostrils?). I haven’t had that deep of a tea enjoying experience. Guess this is enough of a reason to spend my paycheck, buy some tea, so I can try it out, huh?
website I referred to -> https://www.tacomamethod.com/expulsion
Tacoma Moon Festival
The Tacoma moon festival is a yearly outdoor celebration in September at the Chinese Reconciliation Park. However, since the outbreak in the Coronavirus this year; the festival must be done virtually. The virtual festival is not as magnificent as what it would had been in person, but visually the site itself is pleasant to look at and has some interesting subjects it shows to the viewers. One such topic that piqued my interest was the Virtual Tea House.
The tea house caught my interest since who does not like a good cup of tea. There were many videos of how to many Pu-erh tea that caught my attention. Seeing how meticulously it is making it, had me wondering how it would taste for myself. I enjoy the taste of “new” tea that I had never tried before that is not in the scope of the typical green tea. Seeing the unique type of tea leaf, he had, reignited my urge to try new types of teas. To see which one is the best one to study or play games with, to see how the taste or even the texture differs from one another and to see which one can enlighten my view on tea. It was also nice to see the cultural aspects tea had in China when scrolling down the page. It surprised me how in there is a Tea Art Specialist course with three levels pertaining to the art of tea that is approved by the government.
There were many other features on the website however, the tea house caught my attention more. After viewing the site and seeing the virtual festival for myself. I can say that it makes me want to come to the festival next year hopefully if the Coronavirus is effectively dealt with by the end of this year.
Word Count: 305
Although I would have loved to go to this festival in person, a virtual version of it was just as exciting and eye opening. I don’t know how I went my whole life in Tacoma not knowing about the moon festival, especially since I have visited the park before, but I wish I had learned about this tradition years ago, because I can now say with confidence that I will be attending this festival from now on.
The first thing that got my attention was the history behind the park. I wasn’t really surprised to know that Tacoma had made policies such as the Chinese Exclusion Act of 1882, but I was still left wondering how I had never learned about our own history in school. It didn’t necessarily seem out of character with our education system, being that similar events such as Japanese internment camps and the atrocities committed against indigenous peoples have consistently been sidelined by the American Education system, but it definitely illuminated just how little I know of Tacoma’s racial history.
On the brighter side of the festival, I was ecstatic to learn how to actually make moon cakes. I will definitely be making these in the future. I wasn’t expecting there to be such an interesting backstory behind the moon cakes. I had expected that they were simply really tasty confectionary treats that looked like the moon, or something along those lines. It really sounds like something straight out of a story book. To be able to communicate an uprising by placing messages inside a bunch of mooncakes and actually pulling it off is pretty amazing. All in all, i am excited to eventually have the chance to go to this festival and experience it in person (that is if we are ever able to do such a thing in person anytime soon).
Tacoma Moon Festival: Stepping Stones of Learning
Word Count: 437
As a white American who does not live in a place with a large Chinese population, I had never had the opportunity to go to a moon festival in person at all in the past. This virtual version of the Tacoma Moon Festival was interesting but I’m sure it did not do the actual in person festival any justice.
One of the offered events I found interesting was the educational tour of the park that explained the expulsion of Chinese immigrants in 1885. I find local history really interesting, especially since public schools don’t often focus on local history, rather focusing on national or international history. I was unaware of the history of Chinese immigrants in the Pacific Northwest. I learned that in 1885, a mob of several hundred men forced the Tacoma Chinese population from the city in an act of racism and xenophobia. This knowledge just adds to the darker history of America that not many in the country’s white population are aware of, yet everyone needs to learn.
I watched the Chinese Arts and Music Association orchestral performance because I’ve grown up with orchestra concerts being a commonly attended thing for my family and I wanted to see a performance with traditional Chinese instruments rather than more common instruments like violin, viola, and cello. I went to their website to learn about the instruments they used and learned about the ones in the performance. An erhu, which has been used for 4,000 years, is held vertically with two strings that the bow sits between. A guqin is a Chinese zither and has been played for over 3,000 years. It was an instrument meant for noblemen and scholars and was never meant to be playing for the public. It was one of four arts that scholars were expected to master, requiring 20 years of training to gain proficiency. The third instrument used in the performance for the moon festival is called the pipa, or the Chinese lute. It is the ‘king’ of Chinese folk instruments and is played upright by plucking four stings that represent the four seasons. The various instruments are somewhat similar but very different to common Western instruments and I find it fascinating to see how different cultures developed their own sound over thousands of years.
I found that this virtual experience was very helpful in learning about Chinese traditions and practices. China has a very beautiful and rich history and culture that I have yet to really learn about. The Tacoma Moon Festival helped me start in an easy and fun way, shedding light on multiple different aspects of Chinese culture.
extra sources: https://www.chineseartsandmusic.org/instruments
Title: The Tacoma Moon Festival
Word Count: 332
Everyone hoped to celebrate and enjoyed the festival together, but The Tacoma Moon Festival was celebrated virtually due to corona pandemic. Although the Tacoma Moon Festival was conducted online, I was able to learn new knowledge about Chinese culture. And It made me want to join the next year’s Moon Festival.
I decided to watch the virtual tea class: fundamentals of Oolong because I love tea and familiar with oolong, and I wanted to learn more about Taiwanese oolong. She introduced three types of oolong, and each of them have different tastes, smells, and oxidized percentage. It is important process to smell and feel the structure and weight of tea, and good tea would spread out smells and tastes. Some of the tea have broad structure that can move even further, and better tea stays up and feel the taste much longer time. Good tea can blow our mind, and take you further than we have imagined. This video made me want to try these teas, and also compare with Japanese tea. I will definitely take a time to smell and feel the structure of tea when I drink tea next time.
Another event I watched was Tacoma Fuji Taiko because Taiko is one of the traditional instruments of Japanese culture. I thought it would be interesting to watch them playing and gain more knowledge. They have conducted three shows which are Maturi, Hachijo, and Omiyage. Each of shoes were somewhat different, but have trust and chemistry between the teammates. Maturi had many types of Taiko, and about 10 people played Taiko as a team. Hachijo was more powerful show, and they had bigger motion. I noticed that they made eye contacts many times in the team to play as a whole. Lastly, they have played Omiyage, which they played in lower position and included dance move in the show as well. Overall, Chinese culture and Japanese culture are similar, and it made me curious to know more about the different culture.
“Reconnecting Through History”
Word count: 441
I had never experienced the Moon Festival in person. However, even looking through the website and seeing all the ways in which people were able to keep the tradition of the festival going during Covid was amazing. There were many things that I viewed such as the timeline tour, “Remembering Nihonmachi” and the origins of the mooncake. All of them were very informative and learning about both Chinese and Japanese culture in Tacoma was quite reconnecting for me. Being Asian American myself, I always find myself feeling disconnected from both my Japanese side and my American side. However, seeing all the history of these communities in Tacoma makes it that much more present in my life.
While viewing the tour, it was clear that the Chinese community had been in Tacoma/ the West coast for some time. They were an integral part of railroad building and the rising market for resources. Even so, most experienced anti-Asian racism and were limited to living only at the railroads. It was actually really cool to me how they just started building houses there since the city wasn’t allowing the Chinese to reside anywhere else. The old pictures of the houses on the waterfront were so beautiful. The video titled, Remembering Nihonmachi was also really interesting because I didn’t know how big the Japanese community was here in Tacoma and it’s so cool that there is still a Buddhist temple that was erected before the war. I will definitely be checking it out in the future. Lastly, the origins of the mooncakes was quite the story. I can see why mooncakes are such an important tradition, as, if the mooncakes were never used to conceal the uprising, then the Hans would still be under the control of the Mongols. I have yet to eat a mooncake, but it is on my list and I can’t wait. Maybe I will make some now that there are recipe videos on the website.
Overall, I hope I can experience this festival in person, but either way, being able to access it on the internet is a huge accomplishment and it is great they are able to continue the tradition of the festival regardless of the fact there is a pandemic. I also think it’s important they were able to celebrate this year because with all of the rising momentum for the fight for racial injustice, it is that much more valuable to recognize all forms of racial injustice that America has participated in. The only way to heal these wounds is to tend to them with gentle care and love. Only then can we start to move forward.
Word Count: 246
The Tacoma Moon Festival has taught me a number of new and interesting things about not only chinese culture but also chinese culture in Tacoma. I learned about the different types of foods that the moon festival celebrates, including moon and sun cakes which both look delicious. I was able to see a video of someone teaching me how to create these treats. I also got to learn about the park in Ruston where the moon festival takes place and all the history behind the creation and some of the statues and monuments which were super cool.
One of the coolest Chinese traditions that I learned about through the festival was the creation of the moon cakes, they all looked super delicious! Not only have mooncakes been a cornerstone of the moon festival throughout the history of the celebration, but the process of making them reflects on the culture of the moon festival. Another practice that I found very interesting was the Cambodian dances and the music behind them. I think it is super cool that they started the organization “CCFDN” to keep the tradition alive throughout the younger generations.
Although I am greatly saddened at not being able to attend the festival in person, it was still awesome being able to go through the festival virtually with other Asian study classmates. I am especially glad I have some background knowledge on the festival itself for when I go in person next year!
My First Mid-Autumn Festival Experience
This was the first time I participated in a Mid-autumn festival and it was quite a unique experience. This year the Chinese Reconciliation Park Foundation sadly was unable to have an in person moon festival celebration, and had to instead opt for an online format. It isn’t all bad however, as due to the online format I was able to get my family to participate. As my brother and I sat and watched the performance videos, one group particularly caught my eye: Tacoma Fuji Taiko.
I was captured by the satisfying, deep, and percussive sound the group’s drums were omitting. I’ve always been interested in Buddhist schools of thought but there have seldom been opportunities to meet with people who practice Buddhism due to my location. Looking through the website, I learnt more on what shin or True Pure Land Buddhism is, as well as what practices they partake in. Most interesting to me was the emphasis that shin Buddhism takes on one’s consciousness, and the benefits of separating actual events from how we emotionally perceived those events. Recently during the chaos of quarantine, I have been off and on practicing meditation. This practice has gradually helped me with the emotions of being stuck at home for months straight, so I can understand the focus on consciousness and its benefits. Although learning about Buddhist practices was very intriguing, it was far less exciting than going to a Chinese bakery and trying traditional mooncakes.
Having a background in culinary throughout Highschool, I was immediately drawn to mooncakes. After watching the video on making homemade mooncakes on the festival website I was really interested in trying one. I thought that it would be way more fun to find an authentic Chinese bakery to purchase these from and try out, so my family and I went to Vinh Xuong Chinese bakery. I ended up trying the coconut, lotus seed and mung bean flavored mooncakes. I was surprised to come to the realization that all of these had salted duck yolks in them. While on my pursuit for authentic mooncakes, I stumbled on some of the Chinese traditions surrounding the treat. The most obvious one was how mooncakes are a common gift in Chinese culture, that is given to coworkers or family that you haven’t seen in a long time. In a festive mood from the moon celebration (and after realizing that my palette didn’t necessarily agree with salted duck egg yolks) I decided to take part in this practice of giving mooncakes and I sent the remaining two that I bought to my grandparents.
The Mid-Autumn festival was a much needed boost to morale through these unfortunate times of zoom meetings and quarantine. Not only was I able to learn more about other cultural practices such as the gifting of mooncakes and the practices of shin Buddhism, but I was also able to enjoy myself along the way.
Title: Dancing to the Tacoma Moon
Some new information I gained from the 2020 Tacoma Moon Festival site was how to do calligraphy. I learned from after watching the short demo video done by Lihuang Wang that you need a writing brush, inkstone (where the ink is kept), ink stick (mixes water and ink) together), and calligraphy paper (although the recyclable paper is acceptable). Together all of these items make the four treasures of a study, the must-haves of Chinese calligraphy. I also learned that while English words are written from left to right, Chinese characters in calligraphy is written from top to bottom. The history of calligraphy can be traced back to 2000BC, where tortoise shells and animal bones were used to predict the future. Over numerous centuries, the writing became standardized and ink started being used for Seal Script (which was around 500BC-200BC).
Other practices I learned from the Chinese Moon Festival were the different kinds of dance and performances done at the festival. The Cambodian Classical and Folk Dance of the Northwest (CCFDN) was established in the 1980s and organizes youths showcasing Cambodian dance. Cambodian classical and folk dance specifically is called Khmer and it is derived from Indian culture. Classical Cambodian dance has women dressed in brightly colored costumes with golden-like headdresses. Dancers perform under instruments like gongs, drums, and xylophones. The graceful and elegant movements are combinations of inspired dances from neighboring countries (TourismCambidia.com).
My virtual experience was really fun and enjoyable. It was nice getting to see and read about the different cultural practices and performances. I am very much ignorant of the history of Tacoma and therefore completely unaware of the history of Asian Americans in Tacoma. The Tacoma Moon Festival seems like an auspicious celebration that brings people together, and I wish that next year I will be able to witness it.
TourismCambodia.com. “Khmer Dance – Khmer Art and Culture – Khmer Culture: Tourism Cambodia.” Khmer Art and Culture – Khmer Culture | Tourism Cambodia, http://www.tourismcambodia.com/culture/art-and-culture/khmer-dance.htm.