The SC Moon Fest, hosted by East Point Academy, was a flurry of Chinese culture, food, games and crafts. The festival, held at the West Columbia Riverwalk Amphitheater on Saturday, was a free event and a nod to the Chinese Mid-Autumn Festival that holds great importance in Chinese culture.
To many of Chinese descent, the Mid-Autumn Festival is the second most important festival of the year, after the Chinese New Year. The festival is celebrated on the fifteenth day of the eighth month based on the lunar calendar of China, which often falls in September or October of the Western calendar. The celebration marks when it is believed that the moon is at its fullest, as a symbol of prosperity, family and peace. Mooncakes are often eaten in reverence of the celestial body, and the festival has been a custom for over 3,000 years.
Lo mein was available for purchase as well as green tea and red bean mooncakes, a special delicacy during the Mid-Autumn Festival. Clothing vendors and advertisers set up in the parking lot of the Riverwalk Amphitheater, and a variety of games and crafts were available for children to play and construct.
“I enjoy experiencing different cultures,” said Marianna Vinson, a first-year pre-pharmacy student. “I usually like eating the food, and if they have anything to watch, like dances or dragons.”
The Riverwalk Amphitheater stage had a large variety of performers, including Mandarin singers, drum dances, dragon dances and sword demonstrations.
One of the performances was a combination of three demos including Korean karate, Chinese martial arts and a sword demo from individuals who practice at KDA Karate Academy.
“That’s one of the cool parts for learning different styles and different cultures ... in terms of martial arts. It broadens your horizons. It broadens your mindset,” said Dan Bernardo of KDA Karate Academy.
East Point Academy is a public charter school for children in pre-school to sixth grade. The school is a Chinese immersion school, increasing proficiency in Mandarin Chinese while also adhering to South Carolina education standards.
“I think any time that any culture can be experienced outside of our own is very very important. We’re a global economy; we’re a global culture. If you only think about yourself and your own culture, sometimes we get closed minded,” said Bernardo.