Mid-Autumn Celebration introduces students to Chinese culture

Essence Boyd — News Editor

The Multicultural Center, in collaboration with the Chinese Student Association, brought in the moon festival with mooncakes and traditional Chinese music during their Mid-Autumn Festival Celebration in Engleman B121 on Monday, Sept. 16.

“We put this event on every semester, it’s always a great opportunity to get people interested in Chinese culture,” said CSA secretary, and international business major, Peter Callahan, a junior.

According to a handout distributed by the organization, in Chinese culture, the festival is held on the 15th day of the eighth month of the lunar calendar on a full moon which is said to be when the moon is the “brightest and roundest” which signifies the unity of family.

Multicultural Center coordinator Dian Brown-Albert said the Chinese tradition is like the American holiday Thanksgiving, being the time of year that families enjoy each other’s company.

“This is the opportunity for families to come together and enjoy the time that they share and enjoy some moon cakes,” said Brown-Albert.

Much like Thanksgiving, there are items designated to be eaten during this time of year, one of the many foods being mooncake. According to Callahan, the consumption of the dessert not only signifies the unity of family but happiness.

It is a traditional dish from Chinese culture and it’s often been used to symbolize the moon. As you can tell it is also a circular shape,” said Callahan. “It’s just a symbol of happiness from Chinese culture.”

According to CSA advisor June Cheung, the event was brought to campus to spread awareness of Chinese culture and make Southern students interested in cultures other than their own.

“We want to bring awareness of the different culture,” said Cheung. “Several countries celebrate this [holiday]. This is treated as a very important festival in China similar to your Thanksgiving; families get together eat special foods and watch the moon.”

The two organizations have been hosting the event together for several years and claim it is one of their most attended events outside of the Chinese New Year. Brown-Albert, who has worked in the Multicultural Center for over 13 years, said the event has been hosted it for as long as she has been a part of it.

In addition to educational commentary and light refreshments, the organization also showed the audience two videos in which the true meaning behind the holiday was showcased. The event was concluded with soft traditional Chinese music and an even softer and an even sweeter traditional dessert.

Political science major Varsha Jorawar, a sophomore, said she attended the event opened her eyes to just how significant something others take for granted can mean so much to another culture.

“I took away the importance of the moon in their culture,” said Jorawar. “Something as insignificant in American culture as the moon means so much to somebody in Chinese culture.”

According to Callahan, CSA is always welcomed to new club attendees and educating them about Chinese culture.

“Everyone is welcomed, you do not have to speak Chinese to come to the club meetings, you don’t have to be a Chinese person,” said Callahan. “It is open to everyone and we are happy to have anyone who is just slightly interested in Chinese culture.”

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