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Chinese Moon Festival 2009

An evening of dance and music by Maltese and Chinese artists in celebration of the Chinese Moon Festival will be presented to the public free of charge at Freedom Square, Valletta on September 28th at 8:00pm.

Featuring the Chinese Red Poppy Ladies Percussion, Olivia Dow School of Russian Ballet, the Malta Versatile Brass Band and soprano Mme. Marie Therese Vassallo, the event is co-organised by China Cultural Centre and Valletta Local Council in collaboration with the Malta Council for Culture and the Arts and with the support of the Grand Hotel Excelsior.

Themed on the "Moon", the evening of dance and music is aimed at sharing the charm and joy of the Chinese Moon Festival. As the only professional ladies percussion group in China, the Red Poppy Ladies Percussion will be delivering the unique enchantment of Chinese drums. Not to miss is also the Maltese Versatile Brass Band, which will be bringing back the beautiful melodies of classic moon related tunes. Besides, moon-related ballet and songs will be adding more spice to the evening.

More commonly referred to in China as the "Mid-Autumn Festival", the Moon Festival falls on the 15th day of the 8th lunar month, the exact midst of autumn on the Chinese lunar calendar when the moon appears to be at its roundest and brightest. The full moon is a symbol for family reunion and an auspicious token of abundance, harmony and luck.

According to Chinese literature, the Moon Festival celebrations date back to more than 2,000 years ago when in feudal times, Chinese emperors held a ceremony in praise of the moon for a prosperous year on the day. This ancient custom became prevalent gradually that people began to enjoy and worship the full moon. Together with the celebration appeared some special customs in different parts of the country, such as burning incense, planting Mid-Autumn trees, lighting lanterns on towers and perform dragon dances, etc.

Nowadays, when the Festival sets in, people would light lanterns, appreciate the full silver moon and eat moon cakes, a round shaped specialty specifically for the Festival. Traditional Chinese culture holds that the Moon is a carrier of human emotions. Therefore, by looking up at the Moon, the Chinese people wish to express their longing for reunion with relatives and friends far from home and extend their best wishes to them.

The Chinese people's "moon complex" is manifested in various aspect of the Chinese culture, such as folklore, poetry, films, music, astronomy, science and myths etc. Associated with the Moon Festival is the beautiful legend about the Chinese Goddess of the Moon - Chang'er. Chang'er is the wife of Archer hero Hou Yi, who at the order of the King of Heaven, shot down nine suns, leaving only one to save people from the terrible drought. Hou Yi and Chang'er lived a happy life, but in order to enjoy his happy life with Chang'er forever, Hou Yi decided to look for an elixir of life. Out of respect for the good deeds Hou Yi had done, the immortal Western Queen Mother rewarded Hou Yi with the elixir and told him that if he and his wife shared the elixir, they would both enjoy eternal life. Hou Yi returned home and told his wife all that had happened and they decided to drink the elixir together on the 15th day of the eighth lunar month when the moon was full and bright. A wicked and merciless apprentice of Hou Yi named Feng Meng overheard their plan. He secretly killed Hou Yi on his way back hunting and then ran to Hou Yi's home and forced Chang'er to give him the elixir. Without hesitating, Chang'er picked up the elixir and drunk it all. Soon the elixir began to have its effect and Chang'er felt herself being lifted towards Heaven. Chang'er decided to live on the moon because it was the nearest to the earth where she lived a simple and contented life. Even though she was in Heaven, her heart remained in the world of mortals. Never did she forget the deep love she had for Hou Yi and the love she felt for the people who had shared their sadness and happiness. It is said that Chang'er transformed herself into brilliant moonlight and descended to earth to offer good fortune. Thus, couples swear their mutual love under the full moon while separated lovers pray for reunion under the full moon when the Moon Festival comes.

The first edition of the Moon Festival, featuring music and poetry, was organised by China Cultural Centre in collaboration with the Santa Lucija Local Council, Poezija Plus and Malta Astronomical Society at the Chinese Garden of Serenity.

Venue : Freedom Square, Valletta
Contact : China Cultural Centre - Tel: 21225055
Email : [email protected]

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