Sampan reader letters: My memories of Boston’s August Moon Festival
By Kristine Ga-Ling Golden
I have many fond childhood memories of going in to Boston Chinatown for the August Moon festival. All the Chinatown streets were closed off so that families could walk safely with their children, when normally the small streets were congested with cars.
There was the smell of firecracker smoke in the air. The curbs were littered with red paper remnants that would flicker in the breeze. People were bustling in every direction so both the streets and sidewalks were full of activity.
I remember a stage was set up at the corner of Harrison and Beach Streets. There were a handful of performers in beautiful silk gowns that seemed to float in the air as they danced to the melody of the erhu playing.
As a child at the August Moon Festival, I would beg my mother to rush towards the heavy sound of the Chinese drum, knowing that the lion dance would soon pass by. I was so excited to stop at every vendor. I remember getting a new pinwheel and “bolang gu” or pellet drum. Looking back, I was lucky the pellet drum was something my Gung Gung didn’t seem to mind me playing with every day.
It was important for my mother to take me to the festival to share our Chinese culture with me. In the late 1980s, Boston Chinatown was the only place to find Asian culture. Our family spent many mornings standing in line for dim sum, since there were only a few restaurants to choose from. As the family expanded, we soon took up two tables instead of one, which sometimes made it faster for us to get to the front of the line.
Since moving to Quincy in 1976, my mother has seen a drastic change in the increased Chinese culture presence. Even I can see the huge change made in the last decade. Now there are so many Asian resources available: restaurants, grocery stores, cafes, clothing shops and so much more. There are even two August Moon Festivals to attend in Boston and Quincy.
Being a first-generation Chinese-American, I love that I have two beautiful cultures to celebrate. I look forward to eating delicious food and seeing performances at the August Moon Festival. This year, I am especially thankful to be able to share Chinese traditions with my son, who was born just this past May.
This post is also available in: Chinese