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February 09, 1992|Charles Solomon

MOONCAKES AND HUNGRY GHOSTS: Festivals of China by Carol Stepanchuk and Charles Wong (China Books: $14.95, illustrated). This pleasant, colorful book offers a basic introduction to the major holidays of the traditional Chinese calendar, many of which are still celebrated despite the official disapproval of the government of the People's Republic. Although annual parades for "Chinese New Year" are staged in many American cities, Stepanchuk and Wong explain that the celebration of the lunar new year involves a series of festivals that stretches over several weeks. The mooncakes in the title have been eaten during the Mid-Autumn Festival for centuries, while hungry ghosts figure prominently in ancestor worship. Interesting reading during the celebrations marking the Year of the Monkey.

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