Just as important as Thanksgiving in the States, Mid-Autumn Festival is considered to be one of the most celebrated festivals in Southeast Asia. Falling on the 15th day of August according to the Lunar calendar, it is an occasion for family reunion and the Moon-worshiping ceremony.
On this day, families will get together, sip hot green tea, enjoy delicately homemade moon cakes and observe the Moon, which is a symbol of fertility, prosperity, hopes and dream. The Mid-Autumn Festival bears with it a meaningful idea that family members around the world can all see the same moon phase on the same date, with little difference in time zone.
Beside observing the Moon, another tradition at the Mid-Autumn Festival is carrying lanterns. After a family dinner, Asian children will automatically form a big group and fill every nook and cranny of the villages (in rural areas) or alleys (in urban areas) with traditional folk songs while carry lanterns.
Albeit international students now are only a video phone call away from their families, each of them deep down still long for a night where they could have a taste of home again. Even if it’s only temporary, most international students would love to take a trip down memory lane with folks who either share the same cultural background or those who merely want to get a glimpse of how people celebrate this popular Southeast Asian festival.
Acknowledging the wishes of international individuals as well as culture appreciators on campus, student-run clubs and staff-run groups – VSA, ASA, China Club, International Club and the Center for Religious and Spiritual Life, decided to co-host the event last night in the West Building. Even though Gettysburg’s kinky weather status did not support the event with its hours-long rain, it did not stop lines of people coming to celebrate the festival with international students.
Greeted with lanterns on every step of the ladder leading to the Attic room in West Building, people would immediately be captured by the mesmerizing yet cozy ambience of many more lanterns hung on the ceilings of the room, and they would find themselves following the nutty aroma of moon cakes that would leave a lingering taste in their mouth with the very first bite. Besides, the Mid Autumn Festival also featured traditional wooden molds placed on antique-pattern table sheet from which moon cakes would be prepared.
All thanks to our dedicated hosts who have worked diligently to bring about such a wonderful event and many amazing folks who have come and shared the moment with us, international kids definitely have had a memorable trip down memory lane that was filled with family nostalgia, the graceful aroma of moon cakes, and the warmth of lanterns that all made up our childhood that we forever hold dear onto.
Thank you – those who have made the Festival possible, again, for having made another great moment we will treasure during our time in Gettysburg College.
This article was written by Boba Pham