Chinese Mooncake Festival set for Sept. 9 in Carmel


By Chris Bavender

The fifth annual Chinese Mooncake Festival is 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. Sept. 9 in the parking lot of the Indiana Design Center in Carmel’s Arts & Design District. The event will feature a dragon parade, traditional Chinese dancing and music.

“The Mid-Autumn Festival, or Mooncake Festival, is a big celebration in Xiangyang (Carmel’s sister city),” said Peter Kirkwood, secretary of the Carmel-Xiangyang Sister City Committee. “Having a traditional Chinese festival in Carmel is a natural way to bring a piece of China to Indiana and share Chinese cultures and traditions with the citizens of Carmel.”

The festival is held on the 15th day of the eighth month of the lunar calendar. As in many cultures, the time of year coincides with harvest time. Tradition is for family and friends to gather to give thanks and prayers. The festival was first introduced as an official holiday in China at the beginning of the Tang Dynasty, approximately 3,000 years ago.

“During the Tang dynasty, the moon was already a popular subject for poets to write about,” said Ming Ye, vice president of the Carmel-Xiangyang Sister City Committee. “There’s an old legend that one day the Tang emperor visited a Moon Palace in his dream and heard a beautiful song that inspired him to hold the mooncake festival. Many also believed that worshipping and practicing rituals to the moon would bring about a plentiful harvest season.”

The mooncake – a Chinese pastry – is meant to represent the full moon, which is a symbol of harmony and unity. It can be filled with a variety of contents but the most common ones are lotus seed paste and red bean.

The free festival will kick off with a parade featuring a dragon dance, lion dance, red lantern and youth silk dance teams. A stage performance will showcase Chinese performing arts,  including folk dance, singing, instrument demonstrations and Taiji demo. There will be booths showcasing Chinese culture, including a dress exhibit, mooncake and tea tasting, a photograph exhibit and a kids zone where children can make their own mooncakes with dough.

To reserve a mooncake, or for more information, visit


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