Chinatown’s August Moon Festival celebrates its 50th year

Dancers laughed at they watched performances as they waited to take the stage at the August Moon Festival in Chinatown on Sunday.
Dancers laughed at they watched performances as they waited to take the stage at the August Moon Festival in Chinatown on Sunday.Jessica Rinaldi/Globe Staff/Globe Staff

A rapid drumbeat was part of the soundtrack midday Sunday in Chinatown as cheering crowds gathered to watch the lion dance during the city’s 50th August Moon Festival.

The lion, with its jumping head and dancing legs, was just one facet of the explosion of colors and sound during the festival, which commemorates the harvest and each person’s contributions in preparing for the year ahead.

Susan Chu, the executive director of the Chinese Consolidated Benevolent Association of New England, or CCBA, noted that 50 years is a huge milestone and that the celebration’s endurance demonstrates that a strong community prevails inChinatown.


“It’s an opportunity to share our culture, and to be able to share it for 50 years I think is a big accomplishment,” Chu, 34, said.

On the main stage late morning, a troupe of 4- to 6-year-old dancers in multicolored tulle skirts waited with concentrated expressions, hands on hips, for their music to start.

Their dance teacher, Ivy Brady, said many parents sign their children up for her dance classes to increase their confidence, in the hopes that these skills will help them prosper in school and in their future professional careers.

Christy Li started dancing with the troupe when she was 7 years old. Now 16, she works as an assistant coach and said it was fun to see the girls dance at the festival.

“I think I’m really proud to see them perform, because I know I’m part of it also,” Li, 16, said.

For many families, the festival also presents an opportunity for one generation to share their culture with the next.

“I grew up celebrating the mid-autumn festival with my family, too,” said City Councilor Michelle Wu, who was there with her husband and two sons, “and just being here and seeing the sights and the colors and hearing the sounds and tasting the mooncakes brings back so many memories of being with my family and these special times, so it’s really important to my husband and me to be creating these new memories with our kids, too,”


Nischal Tamang came with friends to check out the event and eat good food. Tamang, whose parents immigrated to the US from northern India, also said he noticed a lot of ethnic diversity at the festival.

“It just seems like there’s a lot of camaraderie,” said Tamang, 21, of Belmont. “It’s just nice to see everyone mingle together.”

Lauren Fox can be reached at lauren.fox@globe.com. Follow her on Twitter @bylaurenfox.