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‘Mid-Autumn Moon Festival’ offers students window into an important Chinese holiday and traditions

The Mid-Autumn Festival, also known as the Moon Festival, is one of the most important traditional holidays in Chinese culture. The festival celebrates the harvest and falls on the 15th day of the eighth month on the Chinese lunar calendar. It is a celebration of gathering that’s typically celebrated when the moon is the brightest and the fullest. The holiday symbolizes family reunion, interconnectedness and unity.

The Mid-Autumn Festival is an annual event hosted by Baruch College’s United Chinese Language Association, and it is the biggest event that the club organizes. Last year, the event won an award from the Undergraduate Student Government.

UCLA celebrated the festival with performances, fun games, decorations and delicious food on Thursday, Oct. 4, in the Multipurpose Room.

The night began with a welcome from hosts Nelson Cao — also UCLA vice president of philanthropy — and Tanjeel Murad, who explained the significance of the moon festival and why it should be celebrated at Baruch.

The welcome was followed by a speech from UCLA’s president, Raymond Mei, who thanked the co-sponsors and passed out gifts — 30 mason jars filled with candy — as a token of appreciation from UCLA.

“The turnout was amazing and I am super grateful for our community,” Mei said during his speech. “The significance of this is not only culture but also spreading the culture to other students who might not know.”

The first performance of the night was by Paulina Vo who sang “Sunday” and “Move on” as she played her guitar. Vo is a singer and songwriter from New Orleans who first started singing at 3 years old. She is currently residing in New York City and producing her own music.

After Vo’s performance and while Chinese cuisine was being served for dinner, UCLA shared a parody of Crazy Rich Asians — called “Crazy Broke Asians” — with the audience.

Following the dinner, a relay race was played. There were three different games in the relay race: a spicy noodle challenge, a move the bean challenge and a selfie with a mooncake challenge. Everyone was engaged in the games and excited to see which team would win the relay race.

The next performance was by Hannah Chu, who brought the audience to complete silence as she played the guzheng —  a traditional Chinese string instrument similar to the zither. Chu performed the songs “The Harvest Moon” and “Yellow.”

She is a musician from New York who began playing the guzheng when she was 3 years old. Her interest in the guzheng started when she saw a character play it in a Chinese drama.

The Red Silk Dancers were the next act on stage. Their performance started off with a dance using a long sword, during which dancers showcased colorful silk strings and fans as they danced to “In the Park” and “Paint.” The result was a myriad of colors on stage for the audience to see.

Margaret Yuen, a New York native who also speaks Cantonese, founded the Red Silk Dancers in 1985 when she decided to become a dancer in college. She participated in a free class in Chinese dancing at a church in Chinatown. Yuen then established a professional company to share her passion and the Chinese culture with the world.

The second round of games began with “Who wants to be a millionaire?” but with a twist; if the contestant answered the question wrong, the audience could punish them.

Arvis Chen, former USG chair of clubs and organizations, ended up eating smores filled with wasabi in the middle as his punishment.

Dessert was given out after the game from Mango Mango Dessert. The audience was given mango and taro pudding.

The final performance was by David Feng, who showcased his magic tricks.

Feng is a magician from New York who was raised in Macau, China. After moving back to New York, he had a knee surgery during college that caused him to take a year and a half off.

During that break from college, he took up magic, beginning with card tricks before moving on to general magic and mentalism. Feng has collaborated with other major acts, such as FatBoy SSE and Timothy DeLaGhetto.

At the end of the event, raffle and social media prizes were given out to sudents. The prizes included a photo printer, a wireless charger, a Google Chromecast and Amazon Echo Outro gift cards.

Everyone who attended was also given party bags filled with candies at the end of the night as they left. The event was enjoyed by both the audience and members alike.

“I had a lot of fun, this was a really nice experience for me,” Cao said. “I actually volunteered to do this and I really enjoyed it.”

October 9, 2018

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May Khin


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