Thousands gathered Saturday night at the Gordon Head Recreation Centre and Lambrick Park for a celebration of Asian cultures.
Saanich’s Moon Festival Lantern Celebration was an event for all ages, attendees watched cultural dances, ate traditional food and once it got dark got to walk in the lantern procession —before a show by lion dancers.
“It emerged from what used to be luminara… when the funding disappeared for that this event came into being,” said Jason Jones a community programmer with Saanich Parks and Recreation.
“It’s here to celebrate the fall harvest moon for south Asian cultures so we do celebrations: song, dance, lantern festival, food.”
Festivals like this one are usually held on the 15th day of the eighth month of the lunar calendar during a full moon. This year that date falls on this Monday.
“When families come they can make a lantern, you can come and watch performances, there’s a labyrinth outside you can walk outside, we have lion dancers outside, there also a lantern procession so you carry a lantern through the park at dark,” said Jones.
Around 3,000 showed up, and the turnout was no surprise. The 2016 census shows that out of Saanich’s population of over 114,000, 21,855 are of south, east and Southeast Asian origin. That number grows when looking at Greater Victoria.
“We have such a large community in this city it’s about celebrating our cultural background and history, and cultural makeup of the city,” said Jones.
“Canada is a multicultural country and we are open to many cultures and we have the opportunity to be able to enjoy and appreciate other cultures and we are very grateful for that,” said attendee Judeel Shaarawi.
“It’s such a great experience getting to learn about this,” added Ella Morin.
As the night set in, the public joined in a lantern procession, that ended in a ring around the rear field of the venue. They were then treated to a lion dance by the Wong Sheung Hung Fut Kung Fu Club.
Many left feeling like they experienced a little piece of Asia.