Sydney’s south western suburbs played host to thousands of animated festival goers for the September 3rd & 4th Moon Festival, a celebration of the 15th of the 8th lunar month also known as the Mid-Autumn Festival. Asian Culture is deeply embedded in traditional festivals. Just like Christmas and Thanksgiving in the West, the Moon Festival is one of the most important traditional events for the Chinese being an important event full of legendary stories and a popular occasion for large, family reunions for both Chinese and Vietnamese families.
An annual event determined by the equinox, when daylight and darkness are at an equal length, almost 80’000 festival goers attended browsing the food stalls, musical performances, live theatre including acrobatics & dance and of course the traditional Cantonese Lion Dance Parade, a must see spectacle! Fairfield City Mayor Mr. Frank Carbone praised the festival as providing such a valuable contribution to the surrounding local communities.
One of the few festivals even bigger in size and scale than the Moon Festival is the Chinese New Year Festival, a month long epic running from late January until early February. Hurstville Sydney will once again host a giant street show and parade with activities and fireworks galore encompassing the finest of Asian culture, traditions and arts with crowds milling until late in the night.
The other events are the traditional eye-dotting ceremony where the new lion dance costume is placed at the altar. This ceremony empowers the lion to do its duty of protecting the community, along with bringing them good luck, health and prosperity. The ceremony will be followed by group dances, singing events, lucky draw and the highlight of the evening, an interactive and traditional style costume parade.
As any Asian will tell you, no festival is complete without good food, and that is something which is found in abundance across the Hurstville location, stall upon stall of Asian delicacies and typical cooking demonstrations.
Asian festivals are full of colour and grandeur from plates of delicious foods to performances involving mythical creatures. Stories based on belief and legend have captured the imagination of writers for centuries and they’re now told with great joy on these festivals. Another important date is the Thai Water Lantern Festival which takes place across Parramatta, Sydney mid-November. Entry is free to witness the unveiling of ‘Loy Krathong’ a celebration of ushering in good luck and warding off evil by floating water lanterns in the river. The event will showcase intricate crafts from Thailand, traditional music, cultural performance by fire dancers, stunning fireworks displays as well as a water fountain display. Last but not the least, make sure you take part in the ritual act of launching the candle-lit Krathongs on the river as you make a wish for good fortune.
In fact, almost four percent of the Australian population is of Chinese heritage and Sydney is home to over half the Chinese population. The first generation of ethnic refugees and migrants came to Australia in the 1980s and have since prospered and integrated as students, employees, families, investors, business owners and heads of major corporations. Chinese migrants take their culture with them when they travel and instill their history and values into their children who, in turn, enshrine these bonds as they adopt Australia and become valued members of society.
The main ethnic Chinese are from China, Hong Kong, Macau, East Timor, Malaysia, Vietnam, Taiwan, Indonesia, Singapore, Cambodia and Laos. The one great common denominator is that all of Sydney’s Asian community take great pride and real care in honouring long held tradition and beliefs with the finest event and festival celebrations they can produce with the time and resources at hand.