More than 300 students are expected to celebrate a traditional Chinese festival at University Church of Christ this Saturday.
Mid-Autumn Festival, as it is commonly called in China, dates back more than 4,000 years. It traditionally falls on the 15th day of the eighth month in the Chinese calendar, when the moon is said to be at its brightest and fullest.
“The full moon symbolizes united family,” said Leo Song, junior math major from China.
Mid-Autumn Festival is one of the few times each year when Chinese families can come together. Originally a harvest festival, families would gather to share an abundance of food, including fruits, vegetables and grains. Randy Lang, sophomore actuarial science major from China, said many people look forward to the celebration for this reason.
“In China, it’s like America, it’s very huge. We cannot go home very often,” Lang said.
Although Chinese students at ACU cannot return home to celebrate with their families, they still consider Mid-Autumn Festival as a time of reunion with friends they have made in Abilene.
“We are from different parts of China,” Lang said. “Here, we are family.”
The Chinese Student and Scholar Association is hosting the event, although all students are welcome to attend.
“It is a great chance to celebrate Chinese culture with Americans,” Song said.
Festival participants will have the opportunity to help make dumplings, play traditional Chinese chess and learn more about the festival before dinner begins. Abilene restaurants Little Panda and Szechuan will cater.
The CSSA will also provide guests with around 40 moon cakes – the traditional dessert of Mid-Autumn festival. Several Chinese legends surround the origin of the moon cakes, which are usually about three inches in diameter and filled with nuts, red beans or Chinese dates. The presence of moon cakes at Mid-Autumn festival can be compared to the presence of mince pies at Christmas.
Entry is free, but donations are accepted, said Lang. The event begins at 4 p.m., with dinner at 6 p.m., in University Church of Christ’s back gymnasium.