The City Council, during last Monday’s regular session, approved on first reading, a proposed ordinance institutionalizing the Mid-Autumn Festival in the city and providing guidelines for the said purpose.
Under the proposed ordinance authored by Vice Mayor Faustino A. Olowan and Councilor Lilia A. Farinas, the city shall officially celebrate the Mid-Autumn Festival annually on the 15th day of the 8th month of the lunar calendar, coinciding with the full moon, or on a date determined by the Mid-Autumn Festival Committee. For this year’s festivities, it will be on October 6, 7 and 8, 2023.
The ordinance stated that the Mid-Autumn Festival Committee shall serve as the steering committee to ensure the successful conduct of the said event.
The committee shall be composed of the City Mayor as the chairperson and the City Administrator and a representative from the Association of Baguio Chinese-Filipino Youth, Inc. (ABCFY) as co-chairpersons and action officers. The members of the committee shall be the chairperson of the City Council Committee on Tourism, Parks and Playgrounds, City Engineer, City Environment and Parks Management Officer and City Tourism Officer.
The ordinance designated Session Road as the central location for the Mid-Autumn Festival activities, to include cultural performances, parades, food stalls and other family-oriented activities.
The local government shall encourage active participation from the different cultural communities in the city as well as collaboration with relevant cultural and community organizations to ensure the success of the said celebration.
The proponents pointed out that institutionalizing the Mid-Autumn Festival will not only strengthen the city’s cultural identity but will also promote tourism and local businesses through increased participation in the festivities.
The Mid-Autumn Festival, also known as the Mooncake Festival or the Lantern Festival, is a traditional East Asian festival held on the 15th day of the 8th Lunar month which usually falls in September or early October.
The festival is marked by a variety of customs and traditions, such as lantern lighting, family reunions, the giving and sharing of mooncakes, and the appreciation of the full moon that symbolizes unity and harmony.
The festival is a traditional and culturally significant celebration observed by the Chinese communities around the world, including a sizable population of Filipino-Chinese in the city.
Further, the festival embodies values such as family unity, cultural heritage and community cohesion, while also encouraging inclusivity and inter-cultural exchange in the diverse city.
The ordinance admitted that the festival has gained popularity in the city over the years with a plethora of cultural events, community gatherings and festivities organized by local Filipino Chinese associations and residents.
The Mid-Autumn Festival is one of the most important holidays in Chinese culture comparable in popularity to the Chinese New Year.