The Chinese Moon Festival is more than the symbolic cutting of a moon cake. It signifies unity and peace. Families in China celebrate the occasion at home with a dinner, lighting lanterns, and admiring the moon at night. The Confucius Institute hosted the festival on Sept. 25th at 6:30 p.m. in the University Center.
The moon festival is all about “harvesting, abundance, and good fortune,” said Dr. Yu Jiang, the director for Xavier’s Confucius Institute. Successful people often possess a combination of these three things, Yu added. The custom is one that is worth sharing to the Xavier community, Yu said, because it calls for reflection, which helps people to realize what is important in life.
“Our center’s mission is to start spreading the Chinese culture among the American culture,” said Rongyao Wen, the associate director for the institute. The goal is to increase the ability of Xavier’s students to speak Mandarin, which is a primary way to share China’s culture. Xavier is the first Historically Black University in Louisiana to host one of China’s Confucius Institutes, which is organizing it’s fourth study abroad in China program next May.
The festival brings together Xavier students of all backgrounds to sing, dance, and partake in the cutting of the moon cake. The moon cake is round, which represents people who are fully and completely happy with their lives. “The moon cakes are my favorite since it is a tradition,” said Kevin Lam, a junior, Biology/ Pre-Med and Philosophy major at Xavier. A piece of cake is for good fortune, good wealth, and a good new year, Lam explained.
Barry Sevalia, a freshman, physics major at Xavier said he came to this event because he’s interested in learning about all cultures. “Even though I go to a historically black school I need to understand that I need to interact with all races to see all opportunities for my future,” Sevalia said. Another freshman, Olivia Griswold, said she attended because she was curious about the event. She described the dance performance as hypnotizing. “Each move represented love, hate, and anger,” said Griswold, Biology/Pre-Med major.