Harvest Moon Festival Highlights Talents Missed During the Pandemic

The 2022 Harvest Moon Cultural and Youth Talent Festival, held on Sept. 11 at Sidwell, aimed to create a space for students to share their talents with the community. The Chinese American Museum, Howard County Chinese School and Chinese Americans Greater DC Chapter collaborated with the school to host the event.

The celebration showcased a broad arrangement of performances by students who won virtual talent competitions in the arts, sciences and humanities during the two years of the COVID-19 shutdown. The festival provided an opportunity for the young winners to demonstrate their skills in front of a live audience.

Performances ranged from music, dance, kung fu, singing, reciting poetry and langsong, the art of eloquently and vividly narrating a story, usually in Mandarin. Other displays of talent included visual art such as drawings, paintings and pottery.

However, the 2022 Harvest Moon Cultural and Youth Talent Festival was not a competition. Instead, the event was an opportunity to celebrate the young performers and their talents. It also served as a celebration of the Mid-Autumn Moon Festival, a popular Chinese holiday.

The Mid-Autumn Moon Festival is one of the most popular holidays in Mainland China, second only to Lunar New Year. The holiday falls on the 15th day of the eighth lunar month of the Chinese Lunisolar Calendar. During a typical holiday, millions of citizens flock to their families to celebrate. Ways of celebration include eating or giving mooncakes — small pastries filled with egg yolk, red bean paste or lotus root — to friends and family. There are typically intricate decorations on the top of mooncakes that commemorate the legend of Chang’e, the Chinese goddess of the moon. In some Chinese provinces and cities, dragon and lion dances are carried out in public.

While acting as both a celebration of the Mid-Autumn Moon Festival and talented students, the event also proved as an opportunity for the Washington community to come together and socialize, celebrating their shared culture.