Mid-Autumn Festival celebrates the moon
Sofia Rositani – Editor-in-Chief
Sarah Shelton – Features Editor
Danielle Campbell – Copy Editor
Looking at the moon, celebrating with friends and family, and eating mooncakes are important part of a holiday which just passed on Sept. 21.
The Mid-Autumn Festival event has been celebrated at the university for 15 years. The coordinator of the Multicultural Center, Dian Brown-Albert, first began this tradition on campus.
“It’s really about respecting and appreciating a value in everybody else’s culture,” Brown-Albert said.
This year, international student and finance major Tian Zixuan, a junior, gave a presentation on how the Mid-Autumn Festival, also known as the Moon Festival, came to be. “Think of it as Chinese Thanksgiving—and like Thanksgiving, the cele-bration revolves around food and symbolize the family reunion,” said Tian.
According to China Highlights, “the Mid-Autumn Festival is the second most important festival in China after Chinese New Year. Chinese people celebrate it by gathering for dinners, worshipping the moon, lighting paper lanterns, eating moon-cakes, etc.” “This is my first time study abroad and it is my honor to present my own culture to the public,” Tian said.
Students who watched the presentation engaged with Tian’s PowerPoint and the lesson on the celebration’s origins. “I thought the presentation was really good, I really enjoyed it,” said history and political science major Kyle Thaxton, a sophomore. “I took Chinese last semester, so I find it interesting to learn more about the Chinese culture, because in class you kind of learn too much about vocabulary and stuff, so it was interesting.”
Thaxton was there with his friend, exploratory major Gwen Healey, a sophomore.
“I thought it was very well done,” Healy said. “It was actually very informative.”
At the end of the presentation, students were allowed to go and grab a mooncake to eat. The options for mooncakes were a sesame seed or custard filling.
“There are mooncakes in the back of the room,” Tian said at the end of her presentation. “They are delicious.”
This year, due to COV-ID-19, the mooncakes given out were pre-packaged for the first time.
“At first, I was worried about it because I heard at this time of year they go fast. So by the time I got to the store, they may not be there,” Brown-Albert said. “But I had help from my colleague… she actually went out and she spot them, and I was like, get them. Get them, because we wanted to make sure we had some for our events.” Mooncakes are particularly important during this time of year. Mooncakes are offered to family members and friends while celebrating this festival.
“They [the mooncakes] were really good,” Thaxton said. “I’ve never had them, and I love them.”
Healy had the custard-filled mooncake whereas Thaxton had the sesame seed-filled one.
“I feel so surprised that everyone was enjoy[ing] the mooncakes and I am enjoying introducing Asian culture to you,” said Tian.
Brown-Albert said she really enjoys celebrating holidays like this with the school. “It’s really nice to see the Southern community come together because the Mid-Autumn Festival is kind of like our Thanksgiving, it’s not Thanksgiving, but the community when I look around the room and see students connecting and so many students is that because we didn’t ex-pect that many students. This was just really nice,” Brown-Albert said.
Because of COVID-19, in-person campus events were limited. Now that these events have returned to campus, it seems harder than be-fore to get a turnout.
“I didn’t know who would show up, if we would even have a turn-out, but it felt important that we have to do some-thing because this is important in their culture,” Brown-Albert said. “As a university, it is important for us to make sure that we continue so that we could create a sense of family as this time that is about family and gathering.”