I went to the Moon festival, also known as the Lunar festival and Mid Autumn festival. It’s a big deal in VN, there’s moon cakes and people go out, but here it’s pretty low-key. There are no Moon festival sales.
It’s weird to be an outsider visiting another people’s culture and trying to be respectful and not pandering or being in the way. It’s kind of nice, in a way. I saw parallels between the Lunar festival and powwows I’ve been to before. MCs and staff acknowledging sponsors, giving awards and recognizing prominent people, and technical difficulties with sound systems. Announcements in two or more languages. Kids walking around in traditional clothes they have to be careful of, adults in traditional clothes they wear on rare occasions and lots of other people looking and taking pictures of things they see as foreign, exotic and well, quaint. I was a little disheartened to see they had a Little Miss pageant. As watched I wondered if there was some little chubby, awkward Vietnamese girl out there in the audience disappointing her mother the same way I disappointed mine by not being princess material. I also saw a young guy who took my breath away. He looked like Jerry when he was younger, from his blue plaid shirt to his hiking boots. He even stood like Jerry. There were tears rolling down my cheeks and I tried not to stare at him but the sameness was impossible to ignore. I felt a little embarrassed and relieved when I lost sight of him.
While I was there I bought some egg rolls and hung back looking around and taking bad phone pictures. There are better pictures on the OK Vietnamese community facebook page.