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Celebrating the Chinese Moon Festival in Senior Housing

Posted: September 26, 2013

If ever one needed a demonstration of why aging in community is THE WAY  (Tao) to go, one should have been at the recent JCHE Brighton moon festival celebration.  Well over 100 tenants came together to dine on traditional moon cakes and other delicacies from Chinatown, to watch each other perform traditional Chinese dances and modern ballroom dance, to listen to solo songs and ones by our Chinese-singing choir as well as a masterful violin performance and to appreciate this time of year and the joy of being together as a community.

I was struck by several things:

  • The moon festival, which honors the harvest, is very reminiscent of the Jewish festival of sukkot, which also honors the harvest and falls at the same time of year.  We build huts and invite friends and family to come as we use symbols of the harvest to be grateful for the bounty of the earth and to recognize the cycles of the natural year.  The Chinese festival has 3 parts—gathering which refers to both family and friends coming together as well as harvesting crops; thanksgiving to give thanks for the earth’s bounty; and praying for a good future.
  • The spirit of celebration works so much better when it is shared in community.  Every performance was greeted with strong applause and deep appreciation, reinforcing the celebratory nature of the day.
  • Joy is not only possible but a natural by-product of living in community.  Joy multiplies upon itself when it is expressed collectively—at one point I looked out on the “audience” to see 100% alert, supportive, happy and interested faces—people who have shared ups and downs and intend to be there for each other throughout whatever may come.

Happy 中秋節

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