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Moon Festival

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Published on Sep 14, 2011

Performance highlights from our Moon Festival event, held on 13 September 2011, 6-9pm.

Live music and dancing was performed by China People Promotions. Find out more about them at www.chinesemusic.co.uk

The Moon Festival, or Mid-autumn Festival, is one of the most important traditional events in the Chinese calendar. There are many versions of how this festival began; the most modern belief is that it celebrates the annual harvest, as China is a largely agricultural country. Other people believed that the moon was a god and once a year would pray to it. At this time, the moon is at its brightest.

The Moon Festival is an occasion for legends that are thousands of years old, including that of a beautiful girl called Chang'e, who swallowed a pill that gave her the power of flight. She flew to the moon and coughed up part of the pill, so commanded the hare that lived there to make her another. Houyi, her husband, then built himself a palace in the sun, representing Yang (the male principle), in contrast to Chang'e's home on the moon, which represents Yin (the female principle). Legend has it that the hare is still pounding herbs, trying to make the pill that will allow Chang'e to go home. However, once a year, on the night of the Moon Festival, Houyi visits his wife. This is just one of many variations and adaptations of the legend of Chang'e.

In China, the Moon Festival is an occasion for family reunions. When the full moon rises, families get together to watch the full moon, eat moon cakes, and sing moon poems. Parades and decorations also involve dancing and brightly lit lanterns. The Moon Festival is also a romantic one. Even for a couple who can't be together, they can still enjoy the night by watching the moon at the same time.

Here at the Barber, we invited visitors to celebrate the Moon Festival with traditional performances and refreshments just like those enjoyed in China and elsewhere around the world. There was also a chance for guests to enjoy tours of our collection in English and Mandarin. Visitors were encouraged to experience both our Orient-inspired temporary exhibitions; A Brush with the East and Act One, Seen Too, (a collaboration with Ikon Gallery).

http://www.barber.org.uk/moonfestival...

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