The Autumn Moon Festival is coming up soon in San Francisco! Chinatown’s beloved event celebrating the moon and autumn harvest goes back to 1991. The festival will happen on Sept. 23 and 24, 2023 from 11am-5pm.
This spectacular festival will take Chinatown by storm, with countless food vendors, nonstop entertainment, lion dancing, mooncakes, kids’ activities, and more. The event is free to attend and will happen all along Grant Avenue between Broadway and California Street. The San Francisco Chinatown Merchants Association is working around the clock to produce an unforgettable weekend. New this year is a Barbie & Ken look-alike contest on Sept. 24 at 3:30pm… see the full schedule of events here.
The Moon Festival celebrates the “glories and mysteries of the moon,” according to the Festival website. The sun and moon were revered as deities for centuries, and the moon has a particular relation to water in ancient Asian mythology. It is said to influence bountiful autumn harvests by promoting soil fertility.
The moon also represents yin, or the female principle, in Chinese celestial cosmology. This feminine connection meant that women took part in Moon Festival rituals, such as offering mooncakes, incense, fruit, flowers, and candles at household altars. The femininity of the moon is also embodied by the Moon Goddess, Chang E.
A mooncake is a traditional Chinese pastry and symbolic food eaten around the time of the Autumn Moon Festival. They usually have a flaky crust and contain a variety of fillings, from pork to sweet lotus paste. You’ll surely find plenty of mooncakes at various vendors along Grant Ave!
Enjoy the dazzling Autumn Moon Festival in Chinatown on Saturday and Sunday, Sept. 23 and 24, from 11am-5pm. Organizers recommend taking public transport to the festival via BART to Montgomery St. station; MUNI routes 1, 30, and 45; or the California St. cable car. Find the action on Grant Avenue between Broadway and California St.