Chinatown prepares for Lantern Festival

As Brisbane City Council prepares for one of the biggest Chinese cultural events of the year, Chinatown businesses expect a flow of non-Chinese people to take part.

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The Chinatown Mall is now decorated with lanterns

As Brisbane City Council is now preparing for one of the biggest Chinese cultural events in Chinatown, the local business say they are expecting a flow of non-Chinese people to take part in it.

A series of events will be held in celebration of the Moon Lantern Festival— also called Moon or Mid-Autumn festival — on September 10 to 11 at the Chinatown Mall.

Despite different Moon Lantern Festival legends, Chinese people celebrate it on the same day each year when the moon is the roundest and brightest — on the 15th day of the eight month of the Chinese Lunar Calendar.

“It’s an opportunity for family to get together and catch up and basically it’s a family oriented event,” said Australian Chinese General Chamber of Business vice chairman Chiu-Hing Chan.

Event organiser Joyce Kokubo said the whole concept of this festival was for the family to join together and celebrate the festival and for this reason they had both night and day events over the weekend this year.

More than 20 performances including lantern making, lion dances and Jazz Band will illuminate Chinatown Mall in this Moon Lantern Festival.

Though this is seemingly a Chinese festival, the local business at Chinatown Mall is now getting ready for non-Asian customers instead.

A waitress working at Chinatown for 20 years Irene Loo said they were usually “very busy” catering for local customers when the event was on.

“They bring the whole family here to see the event,” she said.

The local business said it was usually the locals who were attracted to the event rather than Asians in Chinatown Mall.

The owner of the Pronto Express Bar at Brunswick Street Joseph Origliasso said as a non-Chinese person operating a business in the area, he would like to learn more about this cultural event.

“My knowledge of it is zero and it should be 100 per cent but then it’s part of my responsibility and part of the responsibility of the Chinese community to educate me,” he said.

Ms Kokubo said the people coming to the event were a mixture of both Asians and locals.

“We expected the majority of people from the Asian community but as a result we did see lots of locals show up in the event,” she said.

As many Chinese people reside in Sunnybank, Ms Kokubo said she would love to see the event attract more Asians to Chinatown.