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The Hawkeye

The Student News Site of University of Louisiana Monroe

The Hawkeye

The Student News Site of University of Louisiana Monroe

The Hawkeye

Moon Festival shines a light on Asian tradition

Carley Nail

The Moon Festival, a vibrant celebration of tradition and diversity, lit up ULM’s campus on Wednesday.

The Office of International and Multicultural Affairs and the Asian Student Association held their annual Moon Festival. The Moon Festival is an important event in East Asian culture because it signifies the end of the autumn harvest. 

In ancient China, emperors would pray during the Moon Festival for a successful harvest, good weather and peace for the country. Families would gather for dinner, light lanterns, perform fire dragon dances and appreciate the moon.

Today, the festival reunites family and friends to eat and watch the moon. 

Students lined up at a long table filled with various kinds of Asian cuisine. The Asian Student Association served egg rolls, fried rice, chow mein and mooncakes to the hungry crowd.

During the Moon Festival, mooncakes are traditionally shared between friends and family. Mooncakes are regarded as a Chinese delicacy and are served with tea.

Professor Joyce Zhou also performed a traditional dance to celebrate the festival. Zhou demonstrated different dance moves and explained their meaning. 

A lot of ethnic dances practiced during Moon Festival stem from watching the scenery around them. The motions reflect aspects of nature. In Zhou’s performance, you can imagine her arms as flowing water with how smooth her moves were.

These groups also dance with unique instruments. Zhou showed this by shimmying her shoulders and banging her palms on an imaginary drum.

The final part of ULM’s celebration of the Moon Festival was painting masks.

“We make our masks to be representative of who we are and what we wish for the upcoming year,” Gina White, director of International and Multicultural Affairs, said. 

Students receive paper masks, fabric paint and brushes so that they can colorfully express who they are on the inside.

“I saw a flyer and thought that it looked interesting. I was also curious about what painting the masks would be like,” sophomore risk management and insurance major Paxton Stuart said. “I learned about traditional dancing that they would do during the festival and that they would write messages on lanterns and release them to go to the moon.”

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