Augustana Observer

Augustana Observer

Augustana Observer

December 9, 2023

Augustana Celebrates Second Annual Mid-Autumn Festival

Augustana celebrated its second annual Mid-Autumn Festival in the quad on Thursday.
All students were welcome to celebrate the festival with dances, presentations, and traditional festival food. The event was put together by the Asian Student Organization, a group that Vice President Mykea Johnson said “focuses on bringing Asian culture to the Augie community” and how it is “open to anyone that wants to learn about Asian culture and heritage.”
The group’s aim was to present a significant part of Asian tradition and culture to the Augustana community and unite both domestic and international students in the festival.
We hope the Augie community can learn about different cultures just as the First Year FYI classes are supposed to teach the students how to think ‘liberally.’ The Mid Autumn Festival is also a great occasion for hanging out and enjoying some great food under a bright view of the moon,” sophomore and Recruitment Chair, Jason Jung, said.
The Mid-Autumn Festival is celebrated all across Asia in countries like China, Vietnam, Malaysia, Korea, and the Philippines, usually on the 15th day of the 8th month in the lunar calendar. In Vietnam, it is called The Children’s Festival because it is a day in the year when parents give time to their children after not being able to spend time with them because of work. It has also been called the Moon Festival or the Harvest Moon Festival in other countries. In China, people exchange gifts after a big family dinner, have mooncake, and watch the mid-autumn show. They may also write wishes on Kongming lanterns — lanterns that float into the sky when the small fire underneath them lights — and let them go into the air, enjoying the beauty of the full moon outside.
Though the event may be called a variance of names and celebrated in different ways, Ny Ny Le, junior and President of ASO, said that a majority of the time, the festival has three major components to it: the lion or dragon dance, mooncakes, and lanterns.
People watch lion (dragon) dance during the festival with the hope of bringing prosperity to their family because they believe that the lion or dragon will scare the evils away. Eating mooncakes and drinking tea with family are also the major activities during the festival…a Mid-Autumn Festival will not be completed without mooncakes,” Le said, comparing the cake to how pumpkins are regarded during Halloween.
The flavor of the mooncake can vary, but the most popular are made of red bean, lotus seed, durian, or winter melon. These are usually paired with traditional tea from the country that is celebrating the festival.
Members of the Vietnamese Student Association put together a dance presentation that put a modern twist on a traditional Vietnamese dance. Ha Pham, a first-year international student from Vietnam, performed in the dance and was glad to participate in a festival that she celebrated in her native country.
“Back at home, we usually go out during the festival. We usually go out and eat dinner together, and then we go around our old quarter to see people. Sometimes they would have the lion dance outside in the street, and we would watch them,” Pham said.
ASO’s mission is to educate and celebrate the cultural differences of Asian students at Augustana and wants events like the Mid-Autumn Festival to create discourse and diversity while also uniting the student body in a world that is continually expanding.
“As Augustana is trying to promote cultural diversity and provide students with a safe campus where everyone can feel included, we decided to celebrate this festival to serve our club’s mission of spreading awareness of different Asian cultures to the whole campus.” Le said.

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Augustana Celebrates Second Annual Mid-Autumn Festival