Barkerville’s Mid‐Autumn Moon Festival brings two-days of magic, lantern parading, and lion-dances to visitors with help from McElhanney Consulting Services, Ltd.
A celebration of the 150th anniversary of the founding of Barkerville, British Columbia’s Chinatown and the inaugural chapter of BC’s Chinese Freemasons drew more than 1500 people to the National Historic Site of Canada’s annual Mid-Autumn Moon Festival this past weekend, including some venerated descendants of Barkerville’s early Chinese pioneers.
Acclaimed Vancouver documentary filmmaker Karin Lee (Comrade Dad, Cedar and Bamboo), who is the great-granddaughter of successful 19th-century Barkerville entrepreneur Tsang Quon, brought her mother, Lilian Lee (Tsang Quon’s granddaughter) specifically for the sesquicentennial event. Also in attendance was Ray Hong, the second son of longtime Barkerville resident-miner Bill Hong, who was himself author of the seminal history And That’s How it Happened, as well as members of the Prince George chapter of the Chinese Freemasons and a troupe of waist-drum dancers from Nanaimo, BC.
Mid-Autumn Moon Festivals have been held throughout Asia for more than 1000 years. The holiday is a time to rejoice over the bounty of the summer harvest, the fullness of the moon, and to recall the legends of Chang O, a tragic Chinese goddess who is said to live on the moon. The Mid-Autumn Moon Festival is often compared to Thanksgiving in the western world, because of its spirit of appreciation and the abundance of food – including the traditional moon cake; a flaky, round, semi-sweet pastry often filled with bean or lotus-seed paste shaped to resemble the full moon. Millions of moon cakes are sold and/or gifted around the world during celebrations of the Mid-Autumn Moon.
Barkerville’s 2013 Mid-Autumn Moon Festival included a variety of daytime and evening activities commemorating British Columbia’s Chinese-Canadian pioneers, including lion dances, Chinese martial arts demonstrations, lantern-making workshops, a tea ceremony, games for all ages, moon cake tasting, two special celebration banquets, late-night fireworks, and a spectacular parade of illuminated paper lanterns that filled the event with equal parts revelry and reverence for one of BC’s oldest and largest ethnic communities.
As a special treat for the 150th anniversary, this year’s Mid-Autumn Moon Festival stretched into a second day… and on Sunday guest were treated to a series of presentations on the history of Barkerville’s Chinese community from a variety distinguished British Columbia scholars, including W.G. Quackenbush (Curator, Barkerville Historic Town) Professor Imogene Lim (Vancouver Island University), Dr. Zhongping Chen (University of Victoria), Karin Lee (University of British Columbia), Dr. Ying Ying Chen (Indiana University/Barkerville Historic Town) and Dr. Tzu-I Chung (Curator, Royal British Columbia Museum).
This year’s sesquicentennial Mid‐Autumn Moon Festival was made possible by a gift from Community Sponsor McElhanney Consulting Services, Ltd., who’s much appreciated funds went directly to the special event weekend, including the purchase of moon cakes, lantern making supplies, prizes, and fireworks.
“McElhanney Consulting Services Ltd. is pleased to be a part of the 2013 Barkerville Mid-Autumn Moon Festival,” said Bill Cheung, Branch Manager at McElhanney Consulting & Services Ltd. “With McElhanney’s own involvement in the history of British Columbia over the past 100 years, we enjoy the opportunity to look back at our past and appreciate the difficulties and challenges that our early settlers and First Nations had to contend with in this part of the world.
“McElhanney is also happy to celebrate the Mid-Autumn Moon festival with the Chinese community which played such a key role in the history of Barkerville and BC,” he added.
This is McElhanney’s third gift to Barkerville and their third year sponsoring the Mid‐Autumn Festival. In addition to McElhanney’s Community Sponsorship, the Community Support of Quesnel’s Sandman Hotel helped to make the 2013 Mid‐Autumn Moon Festival a success.
For more information about the Mid‐Autumn Moon Festival, or any of Barkerville’s seasonal events, please visit please visit www.barkerville.ca/special_events.htm.
About McElhanney Consulting Services, Ltd.
McElhanney Consulting Services, founded in 1910 by British Columbia land surveyor William G. McElhanney, is a now a major Canadian company specializing in engineering, surveying and mapping in the fields of transportation, structures, land development, drainage, water supply and treatment, sewage treatment and disposal, resource development and land administration. McElhanney‘s goal is to provide personalized services tailored to local needs and supported by a multi‐disciplinary team of specialists and professionals, and the consulting company has completed projects throughout Canada and in over 70 other countries for government, the private sector and international financial institutions.