June 23, 2024

Last Monday was a dreary and rainy fall day, but it was hard to remember that with the warmth and cheer of the Mid-Autumn Festival.

Held across the hall from the Language Learning Center, the Mid-Autumn Festival was a celebration of both the Chinese Moon Festival and the Mid-Autumn Festival, which is a tradition in many Asian cultures. There was a plethora of free food, including the moon cake—a bakery product typically filled with a red bean or lotus paste that is very popular in China during the Moon Festival.

East Asian pop music played in the background as students ate, mingled and followed origami tutorials on the screen at the front of the room. Students were also welcomed to form into teams to win the riddle competition by being the first to answer a long list of riddles given to them.

The Mid-Autumn Festival was put on by the East Asian Club alongside Mary Zuidema, a Spanish teacher and the Director of the Language Learning Program.

“The Mid-Autumn Moon Festival, it’s a fusion between the Mid-Autumn Festival and the Moon Festival,” Zuidema said of the event. “The Moon Festival is a bit more popular in Chinese culture, and the Mid-Autumn Festival is touching all the Asian cultures.” Zuidema likened these festivals to the American Thanksgiving; although the origins differ, all these events are “a good time for friends and family.”

Zuidema went on to talk about the legends surrounding the Moon Festival, about “the woman who lives in the moon…and her love who was still on the earth.” According to The Epoch Times, the legend is about a man, Hou Yi, who gave an elixir of immortality to his wife, Chang’E, who was forced to drink it when a neighbor tried to steal it from her. Chang’E became a goddess and was forced to go into the sky, but she settled in the moon because that was the closest she could be to her husband on earth.

“[It’s] depressive, but you know, beautiful poetry,” Zuidema said with a laugh.

Many students were bribed with extra credit by their teachers to show up, but that didn’t mean it wasn’t fun for them.

“I came to find out whether or not I like mooncakes,” Jacob Davis, ‘19, said who continued by saying he dislikes them, but forgets and must try them again every year.

Zuidema hopes to collaborate with the EAS club again in the future with an origami night. She is also hoping to do an event with each of the five languages–French, Spanish, German, Chinese and Russian–offered as majors or minors for each semester, which she’s nervous about accomplishing but is excited to try. If this event says anything about how the rest of the semester will go, there’s no doubt that the language department will have a very fun-filled semester.

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