CINCINNATI, Ohio — For more than 3,000 years, Asian cultures have been celebrating the Moon Festival.

It's a time to not only enjoy family but to also appreciate the moon for its harvest.

What You Need To Know

  • The Moon Festival returned to downtown Cincinnati
  • Hundreds of people came out to enjoy the music, moon cakes and colorful lanterns

  • The purpose of the moon festival is to enjoy family and the harvest from the moon

  • This celebration is put on by the Greater Cincinnati Cultural Exchange Association, Vibe Cincinnati and other community partners

Last year, many celebrations were canceled due to the COVID-19 pandemic, but this year it’s making a return to Cincinnati.

Felicity Tao is the co-chair of the Greater Cincinnati Chinese Cultural Exchange Association. Earlier in the week, she was working on the moon cake displays.

Moon cakes, which are sweet pastries made sometimes with nuts or meat inside, are a huge part of these festivals. 

“It sort of reflects the roundness of the moon and that’s what this is all about: a perfect roundness, a perfect union,” said Tao. “For the Moon Festival, it’s a family celebration.”

Tao and other members have been preparing for the big event for months now to make sure it’s special.

“We want to help the Asian community here feel belonged,” she said. “We want to enable everyone to celebrate their cultural roots and heritage.”

Another big part of the Moon Festival is the colorful lanterns. The lanterns are admired by many in the Asian culture. 

“Typically, after a huge feast with your family in the evening, you will take your family out to appreciate the lantern display and it’s pretty much across town,” she said. 

And the opera masks are also a big part of the festival as they are used by the performers. 

“We just wanted to introduce different aspects of our culture to people in Cincinnati,” she said. 

The festival is made possible through a collaboration between GCCCEA, Vibe Cincinnati and other community partners. 

“We have about 120 lanterns, 20 opera masks, lots of paper cutting displays and lots of DIY items as well,” she said. 

During the festival on Saturday, Tao helped out at the moon cake stand.

She said she’s excited to bring back the festivities to enjoy with the community after last year’s celebration was canceled.

“We want to show who we are and what we’re about,” she said. “So we’re so glad that we can be here together to celebrate the important festival with the rest of Cincinnati.”