Thursday, August 17, 2006

Sarawak Intercultural Moon Cake fest is back again

KUCHING: In what can be seen as an effort to further forge the spirit of cultural integration in the state, the fifth series of Sarawak Intercultural Moon Cake Festival will be held for a week during the second week of Ramadan, end of next month.

Members of the public and visitors to the city will have the opportunity not only to taste a variety of foods from different cultural background including the popular Chi-nese delicacy, moon cake, but also enjoy the intercultural activities encouraging national unity and promoting tourism.

The festival will be held from Sept 30 to Oct 6 at around Carpenter Street, Wayang Street, Ewe Hai St-reet, Bishopgate Street and Sarawak Tourism Complex while the popular Ramadan Bazaar will be set up along Wayang Garden and Wayang Street.

Co-chairman of the festival, Dr Abdul Rahman Junaidi said this year, a total of 100 food stalls would be set up to serve traditional delicacies and delectable local food from the various ethnic groups in the state on the street.

To promote the state various ethnic group’s culture, 10 cultural booths will be set up to create intercultural activities encouraging national unity besides promoting tourism.

“The festival will include activities for all age groups to create social interaction and activities to create sight, sound, and taste along the corridor of the festival,” he said.

The cultural booths include the Tea Garden, Chinese Martial Arts performance, Chinese musical presentation, the traditional Mid-Autumn Quiz, lantern exhibition, Bergendang and Bermukun from the Malay community.

“Different races of dancers and musicians will perform on the street during the celebration,” Dr Abdul Rahman said.

The Moon Cake Festival or traditionally known as the Mid-Autumn Festival, is one of the annual festivals celebrated on the 15th day of the eighth lunar moon in the Chinese Calendar.

Many refer to it simply as the Fifteenth of the Eighth Moon.

This celebration is one of the traditions that had been handed down over generations for more than 1,300 years. It is one of the important festivals celebrated by the Chinese community.

Moon cakes are among various delicacies served by the Chinese community during the Mid-Au-tumn Festival.

The round shape of the cake represents the mood and symbolises reunion.

For generations, moon cakes have been made with sweet fillings of nuts, mashed red beans, lotusseed paste or Chinese dates, wrapped in a pastry.

Sometimes a cooked salted egg yolk can be found in the middle of the rich tasting dessert.

Nowadays, there are hundreds of varieties of moon cakes on sale a month before the arrival of Moon Cake Festival.

By popular demand, halal moon cakes have also been sold in town.

Abdul Rahman, who is also the Pantai Damai Assemblyman and former Padungan state assemblyman, Lily Yong had inspired the organisation of the Sarawak Inter-Cultural Moon Cake Festival in 2002.

With the support of the Sarawak Tourism Ministry, the festival organised by the Chinese communities and Clan Associations at Car-penter Street with their Malay counterparts from across the river from Kampung Boyan and Gersik in Pantai Damai, has been listed in the state tourism calendar.

The main objective of the Inter-Cultural Moon Cake Festival is to revive and heighten the peaceful and harmonious coexistence en-joyed between the two communities and foster the prevailing spirit of tolerance especially among the younger generation.

Beside the local communities, visitors and foreigners would enjoy the unique way of sharing joy and celebrating cultural activities, Abdul Rahman added.


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