UNF ASIA celebrates the Mid-Autumn Festival tonight

Miora Rambeloarisoa, President of UNF ASIA

Mid-Autumn Festival, also known as Chinese Moon Festival, celebrates the fall harvest and bonds between people of all ages. Families gather to celebrate thanksgiving and reunion. The Mid-Autumn festival is mainly celebrated in East Asian countries, including China, Malaysia, the Philippines, and Vietnam. The festival became an official celebration in China during the Tang Dynasty (618-907 CE). 

Ancient Chinese emperors worshiped the harvest moon in autumn, as they believed that the practice would bring them a plentiful harvest the following year. The custom of offering sacrifices to the moon originated from worshiping the moon goddess. Following the emperors, rich merchants and officials held large parties in celebration. Music and dancers were also indispensable. The common citizens just prayed to the moon for a good harvest. Due to the legend of Chang’e, many people celebrate how full the moon is at the festival.

There are many traditions that surround the festival to emphasize thanksgiving. People who celebrate Mid-Autumn Festival may write letters to friends and family that have distance between them for appreciation and being thankful. Many people may decorate and light paper lanterns in celebration. Some parts of Asia celebrate the festival through lion or dragon dances. One famous fire dragon dance takes place in Hong Kong’s Tai Hang district. This celebration includes thumping drums, swirling incense, and a 67-foot-long dancing dragon. Commonly, incense is burned and offerings are left out for Chang’e.

Many families celebrate together, eating under the moonlight. Typically, they eat round foods. One famous dish commonly eaten during the celebration are mooncakes. Mooncakes are Chinese pastries that contain varying fillings, some of which include red bean, lotus seed paste, or salted egg yolk. Harvest foods are also eaten at their freshest and auspicious meanings are particularly associated with round foods. Some include crabs, pumpkins, pomelos, and grapes. Taro represents good luck and wealth! Additionally, many also drink Osmanthus Wine to bring a happy life as it signifies family reunions. 

This year will be UNF ASIA’s fifth year celebrating the Mid-Autumn Festival! UNF ASIA is the Asian Students in Alliance that is part of the Student Alliance for Inclusion and Diversity. Over the years, we’ve incorporated different activities and foods that are traditionally celebrated in the East Asian countries. The Mid-Autumn Festival is celebrated on the full moon that falls on the 15th day of the 8th month of the lunar calendar. ASIA will celebrate the Mid-Autumn Festival on the actual observed date, October 1st. Join us on Zoom for our virtual celebration of the festival at 6 p.m.!


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