Monday, October 06, 2008

Moon Festival
By Shawbong Fok

The 29th-Annual Moon Festival in Hanford's China Alley kicked off with lion dancing and the pound of taiko drums beating on Saturday afternoon. Dozens of guests arrived at China Alley, once the epicenter of California's third largest Chinese community in the first-half of the 20th century, to celebrate the autumn harvest, otherwise known as the moon festival. Traditionally, families gave food, gifts and mooncakes to each other. But the festival brings this celebration to the public in the hopes that it could help spur donations to remodel several old buildings in the alley.

"We also want to give the community a chance to share the moon festival," said Camille Wing, a trustee of the Hanford Taoist Temple Preservation Society, which presented the festival.

Lion dancers from Cal Poly San Luis Obispo came to ward off evil spirits and sprinkle good luck throughout the alley as they bent, leaped and kicked their way into the lion dance.

"It's a blessing," said Alan Swe, captain of the lion dance team. "It's an ancient Chinese art form that uses martial arts."

Taiko drums were played by the Fresno Gumyo Taiko. In the old days, taiko drums were used to notify islanders in Japan when enemies were coming. Drummers would bang on hollow wooden logs to sound off enemy encroachment. Taiko drums have also historically been used for music during festivals, according to Sophia Nagao, a member of the Taiko group from Fresno. The pounding sounds reverberated throughout the alley to the attention of dozens of guests.

Engineering students from Cal Poly San Luis Obispo performed the Lion Dance during the Moon Festival on Saturday afternoon. Gary Feinstein photos/The Sentinel

Many came to see the festival to learn about Chinese culture, now a small presence in Kings County.

"We come every year," said Patricia Lambert, 27, a college student from Avenal. "What you usually get is European culture. It's rare to see something outside Europe."

The reporter can be reached at 583-2423.


At 1:26 PM , Blogger fishingwishing said...

I am trying to Waymark the Taoist Temple as a National Register of Historic Places and would like some background information on the Temple and significance here in Hanford and Kings County. The link to the TTPS works but the links on the home page don't go anywhere. Could you please direct me to some history for this wonderful place in our community? Thanks!


Post a Comment

Subscribe to Post Comments [Atom]

<< Home