Last Friday, October 7, the Mid-Autumn Moon Festival was held, which is actively celebrated in the countries of East and Southeast Asia. The festival was held by the multicultural organization Asian Students in America (ASIA) under the leadership of Pakou Lee. The event’s main idea is to show gratefulness for the harvest and embrace the moon.
The mid-autumn moon festival carries a huge historical significance. In China, the legend of Chang’e is associated with the festival. She kept the elixir of the immortality of her husband, Hou Yi, which was given to him in honor of saving the people and harvesting from the heat of the ten suns by destroying nine of them. Hou Yi’s disciple tried to steal the elixir, but to save it Chang’e drank it and flew to the moon. In honor of his wife, Hou Yi prepared mooncakes, which Chang’e loved so much, and put them on the table under the bright moon. After hearing about this story, citizens annually began to bring harvesting and bless the Moon Goddess Chang’e.
ASIA member Emily Vo said that she has celebrated this event her whole life.
“[The Moon Festival] is for appreciating nature. We appreciate the moon, and it is a big symbol. I celebrate it every year since I was born. It is also a lot about harvesting. We share our culture and make it possible for students to be a part of us,” said Vo.
The event provided students with the opportunity to partake in a number of activities related to the festival. Students were able to create personalized Chinese lanterns, origami items as well as small drums.
“[Students] can take lanterns and make their own [design], we have some on display for them to see. They can make a little drum kit here, and paint on them to personalize it. We have origami making table. And the highlight of the event is the mooncakes. They are traditionally made during the moon festival,” said Lee.
Besides the activities, Asian snacks were offered for students to try. They included rice crackers, chocolate and mooncakes with several different flavors. Vo explained mooncakes are traditional meals that are typically made in mid-autumn.
“[I like] the mooncakes. It is usually made with lotus paste. Otherwise, some of them are made with red bean or other fillings,” said Vo.
The students also enjoyed four original songs performed live by Leita Guyen, as well as a lion dance to the sound of Chinese drums. Some students attended the event in traditional costumes. MSU junior Jer Yang wore a costume called Hanfu, a long sleeve dress worn during the festival.
“This is a traditional dress that a lot of Chinese people wear. During the Chinese moon festival, people celebrate and embrace the moon. I am trying to dress like the Moon Goddes, her name is Chang’e,” said Yang.
Thanks to the ASIA organization, students had the opportunity to immerse themselves in the celebration of Asian culture, traditional snacks and activities surrounding the annual Mid-Autumn Moon Festival.
Header Photo: Asian Students in America (ASIA) hosted the Mid-Autumn Moon Festival last Friday. Students were able to create their own lanterns, listen to music and try variety of mooncakes, a common treat at the festival. (Asutosh Silwal/The Reporter)
Write to Amalia Sharaf at firstname.lastname@example.org