Mid-Autumn Festival

Submitted By Chinese Club Officers

SC Contributing Writers

“Of my 23 years of teaching at ESU, this year’s Mid-Autumn Festival was the biggest and greatest,” Dr. Shi, a retired professor, described his feeling during the festivities on Friday.

Nearly 120 people attended the festival, making it a success.

The Mid-Autumn Festival, called Zhong qiu jie, has long been a tradition in China, beginning in the Shang Dynasty, and is the second most famous festival after the Spring Festival.

The Mid-Autumn Fest is also known as the “Day of the Moon” because it is celebrated on the day the Harvest moon is fullest and brightest.

Traditionally, this is on the fifteenth day of the eighth month on China’s lunar calendar (which is around mid-September on the Gregorian calendar).

The moon symbolizes peace, prosperity and family reunion. In China, families who have moved away will travel back home to celebrate and reconnect.

Family and friends will gather in a circle to represent the moon while sharing a special dinner, followed by moon cake.

Conversation focuses on a reflection of the successes and misfortunes of the family members since the spring.

According to the five-element system consisting of water, wood, fire, earth and metal, autumn corresponds to metal.

During the festival, family members encourage each other to have strong, metal-like personalities that are difficult to break or surrender. They must be stronger than wood, where wood corresponds to the past spring.

At ESU, the Mid-Autumn Festival held many of the same traditions. In the Keystone Room, students, faculty and alumni gathered as a family around twelve circular tables to share a special Chinese dinner and moon cake.

The night’s events began with a speech from Professor Dongsheng Che, the advisor of Chinese club.

Then Gou Zhao Yuan, a Digital Media graduate student from China, presented the history and background of the festival giving insight to students unfamiliar with the traditions.

Professor Jane Chao Yu, a new Professor of Chinese at ESU, brought her Chinese II class to the spotlight, first reciting and then singing the famous Chinese poem “Shuidiao Getou” by poet Sushi in Song Dynasty.

In between each performance, host Zhengqi Hu and hostess Bobbi Sherman, the President and Vice President of the Chinese club, held the audience’s attention and stole a few laughs.

Zhengqi, as the third performer, showed traditional calligraphy to the group.

After encouraging the crowd to move out of their seats and surround his table, Zhengqi explained that calligraphy is a silent art and requested (with a smile) that everyone “shut up” while he demonstrated it.

Upon finishing, he stamped the parchment, traditionally called xuanzhi, three times with ink from a stone: two stamps for good fortune and one stamp with his name.

He then asked the crowd if anyone could read the unique characters he had scribed, and was impressed when Dr. Shi read nearly the entire poem aloud.

Perhaps the greatest contributor to the festival was the Chinese Club president, Zhengqi Hu.

Aside from hosting the event and demonstrating calligraphy, Zhengqi was responsible for many preparations behind-the-scenes, including making arrangements for food, renting the room, coordinating the event’s presenters, hanging publicity posters and personally buying the authentic moon cake from China Town in Philadelphia.

A graduate student with a Bachelor’s Degree in Political Science from Shenyang Normal University, China, Zhengqi is in his second year pursuing a Master’s Degree in Professional Secondary Education.

After college, his goal is to become a Mandarin Chinese teacher in the United States.

With this goal in mind, he currently tutors ESU students taking Chinese language classes.

Last semester, he also enjoyed running the Chinese Corner every Thursday night. This program put on by the Chinese Club taught Chinese culture and differences to students who have never traveled abroad.

The Chinese Club aims to introduce ESU students to Chinese exchange students, in order to promote a cultural awareness and establish a connection across the diverse campus.

The club welcomes any student, regardless of major and no prior knowledge of Chinese language is necessary.

Email Zhengqi Hu at:

zhu@live.esu.edu

 

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