The United Chinese Language Association invited students to gather on Sept. 27 to eat and revel during its annual Mid-Autumn Moon Festival event.
Also known as the Moon Festival, the Harvest Moon Festival and the Mooncake Festival, the Mid-Autumn Moon Festival is a holiday that is traditionally celebrated by Chinese and Vietnamese people.
Originally a festival to celebrate a successful harvest, the current iteration of the Mid-Autumn Moon Festival brings together families and friends to watch the moon and celebrate unity.
The traditional mooncake—a round pastry filled with red bean or lotus seed paste—is also typically served at festival gatherings.
UCLA’s event for the holiday stressed unity and cooperation among all types of Baruch students, with 30 different clubs and organizations co-sponsoring the festivities.
“Moon Festival emphasizes the significance of unity between family and friends, which is a value that we believe should be passed on to others. The event raises awareness for this very important holiday within our culture, which aligns with UCLA’s mission,” said Susan Ngo, executive secretary of UCLA, via email.
“UCLA’s goal for this event is to bring together those who celebrate this special holiday and introduce it to those who do not.”
Entertainment for the night was carefully selected, explained Ngo. To open and close the event, musician Hannah Chu was chosen to play the guzheng, a traditional Chinese instrument. Besides demonstrating the guzheng, said Ngo, Chu was able to showcase “a fusion of modern elements with traditional Chinese culture.”
The ability to fuse the modern with the traditional was a reason why New York University’s Asian Fusion Dance, a student-run group focused on Asian dance styles, was also chosen to perform.
“Through incorporating elements of modern dance into their traditional choreography, [NYU Asian Fusion Dance] seeks to spread an awareness and appreciation of the Asian culture within our community,” said Ngo, a finance and investments major. “We chose them because we wanted to spread this awareness in Baruch as well.”
The other two performers were selected not because of traditional Chinese elements within their acts, but due to their ties to the Baruch community.
Sajjan Raj Vaidya, singer-songwriter from Nepal, performed an original song as well as a cover of a song at the event. As a Baruch student, Vaidya was able to showcase both the talent of the student population at Baruch, as well as “the diversity found [within] the Baruch community,” said Ngo.
Nix, a musician, also played a small set at the event. First becoming famous for her ukulele cover of Nicki Minaj’s Superbass, Nix has amassed over 250,000 subscribers and 25 million views on YouTube since 2012.
Singing and playing popular hits on her ukulele, Nix was easily able to stir the gathered crowd with Drake’s “Hotline Bling”, Kanye West’s “Ultralight Beam” and Coldplay’s “Yellow.”
Ngo explained that as a Baruch College Campus High School graduate, Nix was additionally chosen for the night because of her popularity with the Asian student community.
Besides the entertainers, games kept the crowd active and excited during the event. In the first game, students competed in pairs to complete a relay, where they had to consume mochi and spicy ramen.
The second game pit representatives from Beta Alpha Psi and the Bangladeshi Student Association against one another for a game of “Password,” where one student would view a word hidden from the student’s partner and would subsequently have to say an associated word in an attempt to have the partner guess the word.
The third game involved four volunteers eating mooncakes, with one mooncake being laced with wasabi. The audience would then have to guess which volunteer has the wasabi-laced mooncake by the volunteers’ facial expressions.
Zoe Wong, UCLA’s vice president of Public Relations and an accounting major, expressed how UCLA’s version of the Mid-Autumn Moon Festival created a greater sense of togetherness at Baruch.
“[This event] brings a lot of cultures together—not only Chinese people or Asian people come. Many different races of people come and we just all…appreciate the holiday.”
This is the sixth year UCLA has hosted this event after it was created in the Fall semester of 2010.