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Thursday, 13 December 2018 08:53 am

PHOTO ESSAY: Mooncake feast for Chinese festival

Oct 9th, 2018 | By | Category: Latest News, News

Hundreds gathered for mooncake to celebrate the Mid-Autumn Festival at the Salvation Army Chinese Church.

Co-ordinator Swee Chan says the Mooncake Festival is to celebrate being with family.

“During this time, the moon is especially round and big. To Chinese, the roundness represents unity.”

Chinese tea was available throughout the night, in addition to the pot luck dinner and mooncake dessert.

Before this, it is believed to have come from Chinese legends and folk tales, such as Han Chinese revolting against the Yuan Dynasty, where secret messages were sent out on mooncakes.

The event is now one of the biggest in China, next to Chinese New Year.

“For children it’s a lovely time because we have all those lanterns, all sorts of shapes and sizes. It’s the only time of the year we’re allowed to play with candles and fire, it’s really fun as kids.”

Swee Chan and her husband Wai Phang have been organising this event at the church for the past six years, after moving to New Zealand as migrants in 1996 from Malaysia.

“We didn’t have many people come initially, we didn’t know how to do it, but slowly we got the hang of it.

“We learned that people just came, they ate and they left. So that’s why we try to put in a few more games because people are interested to have a laugh or two.”

They had a kitchen team of about 6 who helped to prepare the pot luck food and Chinese tea.

“Previously we didn’t even have the money for mooncakes, but this year we made our own. It is not a traditional mooncake, we didn’t use traditional ingredients.”

Some spent around two hours to make the cakes.

“The traditional one takes skill to make, but we haven’t poisoned anyone yet,” laughs Swee Chan.

She hopes that this year’s success will encourage more to the Chinese Church, which is a branch of the Hutt City Salvation Army where Chinese church goers meet every week.

“Most of the Chinese are very suspicious about going into a church. They’ve never been into one, or heard good things about it, so that becomes very difficult.

“We just try to do it for people who are so lonely, for people who don’t really have family. This festival is a time where you call home.”

Moon Cake Festival

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