Mooncake Festival celebrates traditional Chinese holiday

The Chinese Cultural Club hosted their annual Mooncake Festival in the Knight Spot on Saturday Sept. 17. The Mooncake Festival—more commonly known as the Mid-Autumn Festival—is a traditional Chinese holiday celebrated in late September or early October, depending on the position of the moon. This year, the Mooncake Festival fell on Thursday Sept. 15. To celebrate this holiday, the Chinese Cultural Club served Chinese food donated from Main Moon on Main St. and mooncakes. Biology major sophomore Josie Kwan also gave a short presentation about the Mooncake Festival to educate students further on the meaning behind this Chinese holiday.

“When the moon is at its fullest, it represents unity within a family,” Kwan said. “In the past, the ancient Chinese found the correlation between the fullest moon and the time that they harvested their crops, so they always associate a full moon with prosperity, peace and happiness.”

Similar to the American holiday Thanksgiving, families celebrate the Chinese Mooncake Festival by gathering together and having a huge feast. Instead of watching football afterward, however, they gaze at the moon, light lanterns up into the sky and say prayers. It is said that these wishes and prayers are more likely to be heard and granted during this time. Most importantly, people make, eat and exchange mooncakes during this celebration.

“There are several different types of mooncakes,” Kwan said. “There’s lotus seed, sweet bean, mint, red bean, fruit paste made of dates and the five kernel cake made up of nuts and seeds. We have the most common ones today, which are the lotus seed and red bean mooncakes.”

For a small fee of $3, students enjoyed a wide variety of Chinese food and the opportunity to get to know one another. Afterward, mooncakes were served. Overall, it was great to experience the traditional food that the Chinese eat during this holiday for the first time.

While the event served as a cultural education experience, the Mooncake Festival also offered a fun social gathering. Its main intent for students was to allow them to meet new people who might have similar interests. The Chinese Cultural Club serves as a mediator for Chinese students to meet each other. As the current president of the club, biology major senior Tiffany Lee explained the event further.

“We welcome everybody. Whether you’re Chinese or not, whether you speak Chinese or not,” she said. “We definitely want everyone to learn about Chinese culture and experience it, so we can incorporate more holidays here.”

Lee emphasized that the goal of Chinese Cultural Club is to make everyone feel included, while still being able to learn. The Mooncake Festival provided a fun social outlet that educated students a bit more about an important holiday in Chinese culture.