Chinese Moon Festival Celebrations
|About this Item||Subjects||Festivals; Ethnic Affairs
||Speakers||Judge Ms Virginia
||Business||Private Members Statements
Ms JUDGE (Strathfield) [5.27 p.m.]: Today I draw to the attention of the House Chinese Moon Festival celebrations organised by Elderly Australian Chinese Homes on Saturday 6 September at the Senior Citizens Centre, corner of Bent and Wellbank streets, Concord. I had the great pleasure of being invited to attend these celebrations. The origin of the festival is unclear but many say that it celebrates the end of the harvest. Many areas in China celebrate the festival with a public holiday and families coming together. Moon cakes are the traditional food associated with the festival. During the Yuan dynasty—AD 1289 to 1368—China was ruled by the Mongolian people. Some were unhappy at that time about submitting to foreign rule and decided to stage a rebellion. The leaders of the rebellion had information about their attack baked in special moon cakes so that they could communicate their plans. On the night of the Moon Festival rebels successfully attacked and overthrew the government. Today moon cakes are eaten to commemorate this legend.
Several legends are associated with the festival. One is the story of Chang E, who drank the elixir of life to save the people from her husband's tyrannical rule and floated to the moon. Another is the story of the restless Wu Kang, who cut down a magical Cassia tree in the moon palace as punishment for his restlessness. Another legend tells of the jade rabbit, which was sent to the moon by three fairy sages after he offered himself to them as food. In the past people have paid respect to Chang E and the jade rabbit. This custom is no longer celebrated but moon cakes are still an important part of the festivities.
Elderly Australian Chinese Homes has a wonderful hostel in Brady Street, Croydon, and a home care service. In total the organisation provides wonderful care for around 100 elderly people. It was established in 1987. The director, Dr Celia Fong, organised Cantonese opera and a magical show, which was great fun. In fact, I was called onto the stage to take part in the magical show. There was also a raffle and a hot lunch as part of the Moon Festival celebrations. I understand that the event is much anticipated by the Chinese community and more than 200 people attended, from the Elderly Australian Chinese Homes and family and friends from the wider community. More than 40 volunteers assisted on the day.
Also in attendance to celebrate this significant event were a number of dignitaries, including the Federal member for Lowe, hardworking John Murphy; Councillor Ernest Wong, Mayor of Burwood; Councillor Angelo Tsirekas, Mayor of Canada Bay; and the State member for Drummoyne, Angela D'Amore. Celebrating events of cultural significance is one of the pleasures of living in a multicultural society. Such events help to bring communities together and provide considerable pleasure and enjoyment. I express sincere thanks to Dr Celia Fong, her fantastic staff, the volunteers and all those who participated to make this a successful day. I wish them all the best for the future.