Glow sticks, mooncakes and the full moon were among the few things that made the University of La Verne’s Mid-Autumn Festival a huge hit this year Thursday in the Johnson Family Plaza.
The International Student Organization and the Chinese Students and Scholars Association collaborated together to create this event.
ISO’s mission is to bridge local and international students to break through barriers and share each other’s culture. The club is open to foreign students as well as American ones, with hopes of making multiculturalism a collective experience.
The event was organized to share with the La Verne community this special day for the international students and to celebrate it together.
The Chinese, Korean and Vietnamese cultures celebrate the mid-autumn harvest festival on the 15th day of the eighth month, when the moon is at its fullest of the entire year.
Many people consider this to be the second most important holiday of the year, after Chinese New Year.
This annual custom of enjoying the moon dates back thousands of years.
In Chinese culture, the roundness of the moon also represents reunion and completeness.
Typically traditional mooncakes and dumplings are eaten as a part of the festivities.
The most important snack of the festival is the mooncake because of the egg yolk, which symbolizes the moon.
The sharing and eating of mooncake among family signifies unity.
“Mid-Autumn is a festival that brings family together,” said Janice Yeh, ISO vice president of communication and senior business administration major.
“I was born in California, but am originally from Taiwan, so this festival is important to me. It is the day that I get a chance to gather with friends and family to appreciate what I have in my life.”
Lucky draws, fruits, Chinese tea and mooncakes were prepared for the students to eat while appreciating the fullest moon of the year.
Several glow sticks were also passed out to create a more festive mood.
“I was hoping local students could come and experience something different and have a new perspective of international students, and it came true,” Yeh said.
CSSA members were dressed in traditional Chinese garments and danced to popular Mandarin songs.
They prepared boxes of mooncakes for students who won the lucky draw and Chinese tea to wash down the overwhelming sweetness of the mooncakes.
Sophomore business major Jason Jiang said he loves eating mooncakes because of the beautiful shape and its deliciousness.
He enjoyed the event and thought it was a great experience.
“As an international student from China, I know very well what Mid-Autumn festival means for me,” Jiang said.
“I think the festival means peacefulness and happiness.”
Many international students would feel extra homesick during traditional Chinese holidays because they could not be with their families.
ISO and CSSA events gather students to spend the holidays together and create a sense of home in La Verne.
“The event went very well, and our events keep on growing and improving year by year,” said Ming Hin Wong, president of ISO and junior accounting major.
“This year attracted a lot of different students to come learn about Chinese culture. The outcome was definitely better than we expected, and I promise we will keep on making this annual event better every year.”
With the success of Mid-Autumn Festival event, the ISO and CSSA plan to connect the local and international students through more upcoming cultural events.
Sharon Lau can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.