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Celebrate the Moon Festival Tonight in Chinatown

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Photo by juicyrai via the LAist Featured Photos pool on Flickr

Tonight marks the celebration of the mid-Autumn or Moon festival, a romantic and legendary tradition cherished in the Chinese culture, but open to celebration for all. Going back over 3,000 years, the event is similar to a harvest festival, and is a time for families to come together.

A big part of the Festival is the eating of Moon cakes, which are "round or rectangular pastries, measuring about 10 cm in diameter and 4-5 cm thick" filled with a lotus seed paste which "is surrounded by a relatively thin (2-3 mm) crust and may contain yolks from salted duck eggs. They are described further as being "rich, heavy, and dense compared with most Western cakes and pastries." If you head to Chinatown tonight you can see how they are made at the Phoenix Bakery, and also nab yourself a free sample. It's part of a free event going on tonight, and the LA Times' Travel blog shares this info about the Moon Festival:

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The event takes place tonight from 5:30 to 10 p.m. at the central plaza in Chinatown (947-951 N. Broadway near College Street) where the Shaolin Warriors of Chinatown and magician Minh Tran will perform, and Miss L.A. Chinatown will explain the history of the Moon Festival.

If you want to skip the cakes and get right to the Moon, Griffith Observatory will provide telescopes for moon viewing, or, you can just head up to the Observatory yourself--they are open until 10 on Saturday nights.