The Mid-Autumn Festival is just around the bend and thoughts of tea and mooncakes are brimming up in our mind once again. The moon festival or harvest festival is celebrated by different cultures under different names: in Korea it is Chusok, in Japan Tsukimi, in Vietnam Tết Trung Thu, in Cantonese Jūng-chāu Jit, and in Mandarin Zhōngqiū Jié. These celebrations can vary in theme and style. Vietnam's Mid-Autumn, for example, places an emphasis on the joy of children and is celebrated with colorful lanterns.
Despite the different ways Mid-Autumn is celebrated, the common theme they share is the giving of thanks for family, community, prosperity, and abundance. The image of a family sitting under the moon as they share warm cups of oolong tea and moon pastries conveys the modern feelings associated with the holiday, and San Mateo County Libraries wants to give you a place to gather with the community and enjoy the festivities that mark this wonderful autumn celebration.
We are getting green and flipping our lids. Many San Mateo County Libraries are hosting a kokedama workshop. Kokedama are plants without pots. Their roots are protected and kept fresh by being wrapped in little balls of moss, and it’s become the latest DIY craze. Literally translated as “moss ball," the kokedama grew out of the Japanese art of bonsai. You can learn how to make your own and take your creation home.
Plants not your thing? Come see the Red Panda Acrobats, opens a new window flip, stretch, fly, and pirouette their way through some select library locations. Their legendary acrobatic skills keep the audience on their toes! Juggling, body contortion, balancing plates and eggs, and acrobatic fun for the whole family.
Experts from San Francisco’s Imperial Tea Court will be visiting to talk about tea and the role it has played in holidays like the Mid-Autumn Festival. They will go over how tea is brewed and the traditional ways tea has been appreciated by cultures around the world. There will also be a sampling of the tea for attendees to enjoy!
Traditional Chinese music has singular and exciting sounds, so imagine if such music were fused with the modern sounds of Jazz and R&B. No need to imagine! The musical group Sawharo, formerly known as Creative Ensemble, will show us how bridging the traditional and the modern can give us exciting music that is both comfortably familiar yet thrillingly original.
Come see how the massive stringed traditional Guzheng pairs with an alto sax and electric guitar!
After relaxing with tea and music, perhaps you want to try your hand at something more hands-on? Pauline Tsui will be bringing the joys of painting and calligraphy by teaching two separate classes that cover each subject. She will also read us classic poetry and teach us about the storied and rich Chinese art traditions. Whichever class you decide to take (why not do both?), you will learn some new skills and have your own finished art to take home.
More inclined to needle and thread than brush and palette? Fashion designer and Korean culture expert Youngmin Lee, opens a new window has traveled the world showing the intricacies of the Korean art of bojagi, or wrapping textiles. Youngmin will talk about bojagi, lead a bojagi craft, and discuss the Korean way of celebrating Mid-Autumn, Chuseok.
All these activities and performances are enjoyed best with others, and in the Mid-Autumn spirit, we invite you, your family, your neighbors, and friends to gather with other members of the community. Learn about and enjoy the Mid-Autumn festivities, and maybe a mooncake or two 😉 !
How do you plan on celebrating this year's Mid-Autumn? Feel free to share below!