A Muhibbah Celebration: The Lantern Festival Charity Bazaar
The Lantern Festival, more widely known as the Mid-Autumn Festival, falls on the 15th day of the eighth month of the lunar calendar, with a full moon at night. During the Lantern Festival, children celebrate with processions of paper lanterns while the adults enjoy mooncakes with their friends and families.
In ancient times, the festival celebrated three fundamental concepts which are closely linked to one another:
- Gathering, such as family and friends coming together, or harvesting crops for the festival. It is said the moon is the brightest and roundest on this day, an auspicious sign symbolising family reunion.
- Thanksgiving, to give thanks for the harvest or for harmonious unions.
- Praying or worshipping.
Traditions and myths surrounding the festival are formed around these three concepts. Although emphasis on the traditions has changed over time due to changes in technology, science, economy, culture and religion, the essence of focusing on well-being and togetherness has remained. Hence an important part of the festival celebration is moon worship. The ancient Chinese believed in rejuvenation and associated this with the moon and water.
There is an ancient fable that exists to explain the origins of this festival. As the story goes, the sun and the moon are a couple and the stars are their children. When the moon is pregnant, it becomes round and then becomes crescent-shaped after giving birth to a child. These beliefs made it popular among women to worship and give offerings to the moon on this evening. Offerings are also made to the well-known lunar deity, Chang’e who is the Moon Goddess of Immortality.
The lanterns used in ancient times were fairly simple, and only the emperor and nobility had large ornate ones. As times changed, modern day lanterns have become increasingly elaborate and embellished with many complex designs. In keeping with the times, these lanterns have even been upgraded with the use of battery candles instead of real candles.
Mooncakes are another hallmark and tradition of the Lantern Festival. The round shape of the mooncake represents completeness and reunion. It is common practice to share and enjoy round mooncakes with family members and friends during the week of the festival.
So as you can see, this festival is very popular for young and old alike. As a way to enshrine this tradition, some of our Kechara members recently organised a celebration to commemorate this festival. I commend the volunteer team who took time off their busy schedules to organise the Lantern Festival Charity Bazaar. I was especially happy to see the inclusion of underprivileged children in this festival. I thank my Kecharians for their kindness, for giving back to the community and for raising awareness of the importance of a harmonious and united society. I would also like to express my heartfelt gratitude to the many departments who sponsored and supported this event and made it a success.
September 3, 2016 was a memorable day as we witnessed the extent that some people would go to in order to benefit others. It was an event where teachers from Kechara’s Sunday Dharma School (KSDS), kind sponsors and members from all walks of life came together for a noble purpose – to give back to the community through the Lantern Festival Charity Bazaar. Many people put in valuable time, effort and energy into this event that brought the Kechara organisation, friends and families, the local community, orphanages, charity organisations and entertainers all under one roof. This event was open to the public and many responded positively.
This was the second event of 2016 presented by KSDS since the Art Exhibition held on Wesak Day in May. The core team for this event was Grace Tan, Asyley Chia and Jayce Goh who laboured for months to seek sponsorship, source for merchandise and oversee preparations. Like the saying “The value of sunrise is known to people who were in the darkness”, those who worked hard for the event enjoyed the fruits most and that was to see participants benefit from it.
Food @ The Bazaar
The Lantern Festival Charity Bazaar was held outside Kechara House at SunwayMas Commercial Centre in Petaling Jaya, Malaysia. There were 43 stalls of goodies that were either subsidised or fully funded by local businesses and the community. In support of the charity event, they contributed a variety of goodies, ranging from sizzling local hawker food to branded children’s fashion gear. Besides having the kind sponsors, over 40 volunteers proactively offered their time to make the event a success. Some of the external volunteers were of different faiths but supported this good cause anyway as they acknowledged no boundaries in doing good work.
An ample variety of food choices were made available that night:
- Vegetarian mooncakes fully sponsored by Kechara Oasis
- Shanghai mooncakes fully sponsored by Grace Tan
- Proceeds from Yu Ai mooncakes were partially donated to Kechara by Jane from Yu Ai
- Vegetarian Hand Rolls and Sushi Boxes fully sponsored by Eric Tan of Ric Sushi
- Popiah and Rojak fully sponsored by Kelly Tay, Wanda Daly, Loraine Yong, Doris Ong, Lim Joo Kheng, Goh Tiang Yong and Adrian Poon
- Fried Meehoon and Fried Rice fully sponsored by Philip Loh
- Fried Meehoon and Fried Rice for orphans fully sponsored by Lynn Lew
- Fried Meehon fully sponsored by Tai Ah Kheong
- Fried Radish Cakes fully sponsored by Lee Geit Hong
- Mee Mamak fully sponsored by Kechara Oasis
- Jackfruit fully sponsored by Eric Chan from Dulai Fruits
- Pomelo fully sponsored by Yoke Peng
- Crackers, Tibetan Tingmo, Momo, Shabalay and pickled green papaya fully sponsored by Kechara Oasis
- Nasi Pulut fully sponsored by Wong Gan Mooi @ Wong Li Moy
- Herbal Eggs fully sponsored by Chin Sook Guan
- Bread fully sponsored by Diem Café
- Homemade Cupcakes fully sponsored by Kwek Siew Hong and Reese Thon
- Cocomax fully sponsored by Daniel Yong of Starkiss Food Corp
- Bottled Mineral Water fully sponsored by Mr Seow of Tai Tong
- Lemongrass Juice fully sponsored by Kechara Oasis
- Packet Soya Bean Milk fully sponsored by Jess Loke
- Dilem Orange Juice fully sponsored by Daniel Yong of Starkiss Food Corp
- Proceeds from the sales of Nutrigen were partially donated to Kechara by Chak Lee Huey and Tee Shin Shin
- Ice-cream fully sponsored by Hayden Yap
- Cendol fully sponsored by Kelly Tay, Wanda Daly, Loraine Yong, Doris Ong, Lim Joo Kheng, Goh Tiang Yong and Adrian Poon
- Durian Balls fully sponsored by Daniel Yong of Starkiss Food Corp
- Pudding fully sponsored by Tay Mei Ling
- Pumpkin Sago fully sponsored by Cheng Yeok Kue
- Sunflower Thai Fragrant Rice in 5kg bags fully sponsored by Ms Lai from YHL Trading
- Dried Yellow Noodles fully sponsored by Hong Fresh Noodles Specialist
- Frozen SK Paratha fully sponsored by Daniel Yong of Starkiss Food Corp
- Vegetarian Burger Patties fully sponsored by Hearty Choice
- Flowering Tea fully sponsored by Yeo Kwai Gin of Kedai Ubat Aw Kah Yan
- Proceeds from the sales of Tai Tong biscuits, vegetarian instant noodles and 3-in-1 instant coffee were partially donated to Kechara by Tai Tong
Shopping @ The Bazaar
Fashion and Accessories
- Children’s shoes and branded apparel sponsored by Lim Boon Seang
- Soft toys sponsored by Evon Law Chew Ching and Cheah Xin Ying
- Lip balm, mosquito soothing balm and repellent balm produced and sponsored by Grace Tan
- Knitting products sponsored by Heidi Chia Wai Yen
- Handbags sponsored by William Chua
- Mens shoes sponsored by William Chua
Learning and Development
- Balloons sponsored by Hankidz
- Childrens Story Books sponsored by Crystal
- Furry Tails Pet House
- House of Joy Puchong
- Rumah Shalom
- Single Mother Association
- Tong Shin Senior Citizen Care Centre
- Yayasan Sunbeams Home
- Kechara Soup Kitchen
- Malaysian Chinese Women Entrepreneurs Foundation
- Peekaboo Creative Academy
- Helium gas balloons sponsored by Yew Peng Thiam
- Proceeds from the sale of Buddhist offering items were donated to Kechara by Kechara Paradise
- Proceeds from the sale of flower arrangements, posies and soft toys were donated to Kechara by Kechara Blooms
- Lantern and candles sets sponsored by Lee Ser Wor and Sharon Ong
The Lantern Festival Charity Bazaar was not just a charity bazaar but also an event designed to bring awareness to the less fortunate. As students of His Eminence the 25th Tsem Rinpoche and inspired by Rinpoche’s compassion for all sentient beings, KSDS reached out with sponsorship to the less fortunate from Yayasan Sunbeams Home, Single Mother Association, House of Joy Puchong, Tong Shin Senior Citizen Care Centre and Rumah Shalom.
The event attracted an estimated 600 people and proved to be a good platform to raise awareness amongst the public of the less fortunate and of the good work of Kechara. The team invited Yayasan Sunbeams Home to join in the fun and offered the Yayasan’s children a platform to showcase their talents with their stage performance that night. The event’s entertainment and performances were provided by Yayasan Sunbeams Home, Peekaboo Creative Academy, Hankidz and Bailamos dance team.
- 6:00pm Opening Speech by Head of Kechara Sunday Dharma School
- 6:15pm Opening Ceremony
- 6:20pm Salsa Performance by Bailamos Dance Team
- 6:30pm Fan Dance by Peekaboo Creative Academy
- 6:35pm Dance by Peekaboo Creative Academy
- 6:40pm Musical Dance by Peekaboo Creative Academy
- 6:45pm Performance by Yayasan Sunbeams Home
- 6:50pm Kids K Pop by Peekaboo Creative Academy
- 6:55pm Dance by Peekaboo Creative Academy
- 7:00pm Kids Hip Hop by Peekaboo Creative Academy
- 7:05pm Performance by Yayasan Sunbeams Home
- 7:10pm Kids Latin Dance by Peekaboo Creative Academy
- 7:15pm Teen Hip Hop Dance by Peekaboo Creative Academy
- 7:30pm Magic Show and Story Telling by Hankidz
- 8:35pm Lantern Parade Preparations
- 8:45pm Lantern Parade
- 9:30pm Lucky Draw
- 9:45pm Closing Ceremony
- 10:00pm Good Night
Despite the thunderstorm that hit at 5 o’clock in the evening, the event drew a huge crowd including walk-ins. Most were there to support a good cause while others were attracted by the great buys and good products on offer at the bazaar. It was truly an enjoyable night for both children and adults with live performances, delicious hot sizzling food, the lantern parade and the chance to be part of a larger meaningful activity.
That was not the end! Specially-packed food from the bazaar was donated to Kechara Soup Kitchen (KSK) to be distributed to the homeless as part of KSK’s routine food run, right after the event on that night itself. The items were:
- 57 packs of jackfruit were added to the food distribution run on the Cahaya Suria route
- 93 cupcakes and muffins were added to the food distribution run in the Segi College and Chow Kit areas
- 79 boxes of fried noodles and “kuih” were specially delivered to the homeless at the Chow Kit area, as well as security guards and cleaners at Damansara Perdana, Tesco Mutiara and BU11 areas
The day after the event, the KSDS team and volunteer parents of KSDS students did not lax in the prevailing mood of benevolence. Together with KSK, the team delivered donated merchandise to homes in need. The team wanted to carry out Rinpoche’s mission of kindness and generosity towards the homeless and less fortunate. The donated merchandise included close to 100 5kg bags of rice, a few hundred packets of yellow dried noodles, cartons of vegetarian cup noodles, bread, cartons of mooncakes, cartons of soya bean milk, mineral water, biscuits, coffee and toys. The recipients of this distribution were:
- Tong Shin Senior Citizen Care Centre in Kuala Lumpur that houses around 60 senior citizens including those with critical illnesses. Some of these old people have been abandoned by their families because they were unable to pay the hospital bills. They came to live in Tong Shin Senior Citizen Care Centre after the hospital contacted them to care for these abandoned old people.
- House of Joy, a Christian centre in Puchong that is run by Lesley and the children. They have three homes in the Klang Valley area and one near Karak. In total, the four homes care for over 80 children and more than 20 senior citizens, including disabled folk.
- Pertubuhan Ibu Tunggak Semarak Kasih Selangor in Klang that has over 30 children in its care. The children housed here are from single parents who needed a place to care for the children while they work to earn a living, without having to worry about their children’s safety.
- Rumah Shalom in Puchong, run by Christian Pastor Arun who cares for a total of 40 orphans.
The team worked very hard to make the Lantern Festival Charity Bazaar and food distribution a success. Some of them took a leave of absence from work to plan and execute this event and were fortunate to be supported by understanding colleagues at work. The team is very grateful and appreciative of each and every contribution from benevolent members of society.
The organising committee would like to give special thanks to all sponsors who took the time and effort to be part of this event. Heartfelt gratitude goes to:
- Absolute Thai
- Bailamos Dance Team
- Hankidz Kids Leadership Coaching
- Hong Fresh Noodles Specialist Sdn. Bhd.
- Kechara Oasis
- Peekaboo Creative Academy
- Pulpa’s Malaysia Tropical Fruits
- Ric Sushi
- SK Kitchen
- Syarikat Perniagaan Tai Tong
- YHL Goup
- Yu Ai Food Industries Sdn. Bhd.
- Ms Heidi Chia
- Mr Philip Loo
- Ms Teoh Yoke Peng
- Mr Thoo Chee Yoon
The team would also like to extend their sincere appreciation to generous donors who contributed directly to facilitate the setup and launching of the Lantern Festival Charity Bazaar. They are:
|1. Mr & Mrs Too||2. U R My Pet House Sdn. Bhd.||3. Frankie Poon|
|4. Lee Lin Mun||5. Yong Mei Lan, Loh Kwai Chee, Chak Lee Huey, Tee Shin Shin, H’ng Lee Cheng||6. Lee Ser Wor|
|7. Zoe Lee||8. Grace Lai||9. Tan Li Chin|
|10. Wong Soo Moy||11. Lew Pui San||12. Angel Chong|
|13. Dorothy||14. Owen Chen||15. Elaine|
|16. Grace Tan||17. Lim Boon Seang||18. Lin Yok Kong|
|19. Amelia Ong||20. Julie Cheng||21. Anonymous|
|22. Chan Lee Quen||23. Sia Chiu Duan||24. Jean How|
|25. Michelle Lee||26. Anonymous||27. Tan Ray Liam|
Not forgetting Kechara Soup Kitchen, Kechara Paradise and Kechara Blooms for participating in the event. Lastly, the team is grateful to have Kechara House’s continuous support in making arrangements to allow for the event to take place smoothly. Most of the all, the team would like to thank Rinpoche for instilling in all Kecharians a precious sense of duty to care for the less fortunate and to practise Dharma through our actions transcending race, creed and religion.
Kechara House Buddhist Association Malaysia, founded by His Eminence the 25th Tsem Rinpoche, believes in the importance of unity and harmony, and therefore continuously strives to give back to society in various forms and ways. Stay tuned for more exciting events from Kechara, or visit us at:
No. 7, Jalan PJU 1/3G,
SunwayMas Commercial Centre,
47301 Petaling Jaya,
Tel: +603 7803 3908
Fax: +603 7803 3108
Monday – Wednesday: 1pm – 10pm
Thursday & Friday: 1pm – 6pm
Sunday: 9am to 1pm
Kechara Forest Retreat
Lot 3189, Jalan Chamang
Read more about KFR here.
For more interesting information:
- Raising Nice Kids According to Harvard Scientists
- How they all did it?
- We Are Our Parents?
- Visiting my parents – Tsem Rinpoche
- Volunteer As Pre-School Dharma Teacher
- Why I Conceived of Kechara Soup Kitchen or KSK
- Rinpoche’s Giving – A roof for those without a shelter
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