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Chinese Communities Worldwide Celebrate Mid-Autumn Festival


Chinese security guards rest near a giant dragon shaped lantern set up to mark mid-autumn festival in Beijing, China, September 12, 2011.

Chinese security guards rest near a giant dragon shaped lantern set up to mark mid-autumn festival in Beijing, China, September 12, 2011.

Chinese communities around the world on Monday are celebrating the Mid-Autumn Festival, one of the most important holidays on the Chinese calendar.

The origins of the centuries-old holiday, also known as the Moon Festival, are lost in myth. But today it has become an occasion for families to reunite under the full moon - a symbol of happiness and prosperity - and exchange traditional pastries known as moon cakes.


In Beijing, many celebrants visited a park festooned with colorful lanterns, some shaped like dragons or zodiac animals.

"The Mid-Autumn Festival is mostly about gathering together as family and friends. Together we can be festive and look up at the moon, and today we are here to see this lantern festival which is a tradition," said Yang Jian. "I think it is catching on with ordinary people."

Elsewhere, the three-day holiday was celebrated by Chinese communities from Manila to Taiwan to California's Silicon Valley, and on board a Chinese navy flotilla on duty in the Gulf of Aden.

In Taiwan, many families gathered along the banks of the Jilong River in Taipei to mark the occasion with barbecues.

China's official Xinhua news agency reported large crowds at railway stations on Saturday as citizens lined up to visit their hometowns for the holiday. But it cited an online survey in which 40 percent of respondents said they could not make it home this year.

Xinhua noted a series of accidents that dampened the celebratory spirit for many people. It said 12 people died in a ferryboat sinking in Hunan province on Friday, most of them school children heading home for the holiday.

On Saturday, 10 people died when a scaffold collapsed in Xian, capital of Shaanxi province. And late Sunday, a bus rear-ended a cement-mixing truck in Anhui province, killing nine people and seriously injuring 13.


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