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Festival built on tradition

Media Release 25 September 2006

Festival built on tradition

One of the founders of the Waitakere Moon Festival, Councillor Peter Chan, is urging people to come along to this year’s festival at the New Lynn Community Centre, in early October, and experience a culture other than their own.

Now into its fourth year, the Moon Festival attracts thousands of people from all cultures across the Auckland region. There is an opening ceremony on the evening of Friday 6 October. The next day is taken up with an extensive programme of old and modern music, dance and martial arts from many different cultures surrounded by art displays, calligraphy, food stalls, fortune telling, children’s and other interactive stalls.

The Mid-Autumn festival is celebrated throughout Asia from the fifteenth day of the Chinese eighth month with gifts of moon-cakes, fruit and wine being exchanged. Adults and children alike carry colourful lanterns to the parks and countryside at night to have a picnic supper and appreciate the full moon.

“Lively and artistic paper lanterns in natural and fantastic styles are on display in streets a few weeks before and during the festival,” says Cr Chan.

The opening ceremony begins at 6.30 pm on Friday 6 October and this year it includes a fireworks display starting under the full moon, at 9pm.

There is a Moon Festival song which roughly translated tells of the moon shining brightly, with everybody appreciating it with beautiful smiles. The Moon Goddess, Sheung Ngor, descends on earth and people sing and ask for fortune and peace whilst burning incense and praising the goddess.

“Altogether, Waitakere City’s Moon Festival is an opportunity for families to celebrate time together,” says Cr Chan.

“Waitakere City has a variety of ethnic and cultural groups with differing religious beliefs. Buddhist monasteries and Thaoist temples co-exist with Hindu and Sikh temples, churches, mosques and synagogues,” says Mr Chan.

ENDS

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