Chinese culture celebrated at moon festival

A traditional lion dance kicked off the Mid-Autumn Moon Festival hosted by the Chinese Culture Club (CCC) in the Cromwell Hall lounge on Sept. 23. Students at the College gathered in the lounge after dark to share and enjoy the traditions of this important Chinese holiday.

The traditions, as well as the history of the event, were explained for those not familiar with the festival. Celebration of the festival is generally observed on the 15th day of every 8th lunar month.

The popular harvest festival dates back to the moon worshipping days of the Shang Dynasty. The festival is considered one of the two most important holidays on the Chinese calendar.

Following Chinese tradition, CCC included foods like mooncakes, a Chinese pastry normally eaten during the Mid-Autumn Moon festival. The night also featured poetry, music and performances by CCC members.

The performances at the festival ranged from the traditional to the contemporary.

A skit by CCC members demonstrated how mooncakes were used in the Ming revolution. At the time, revolutionaries secretly distributed letters hidden in mooncakes describing a plan to overthrow the Mongolian rulers.

Joyce Lee, president of CCC, was impressed by the number of people who attended the festival. Lee stressed the importance of educating others about Chinese culture since many traditions are not well known.

The night included performances by Jason Li, senior biology major. Li entertained the crowd by playing traditional Chinese songs on the guitar.

An impressive performance by TCNJ Taiko captivated the audience with Japanese drumming.

The festival also featured the reading of two Chinese poems along with a singing duet.

The evening wrapped up on a modern note, with music played by James Takahashi, senior history and biology major. He played his own versions of John Mayer’s “My Stupid Mouth” and Red Hot Chili Peppers’ “Under the Bridge.”

Many people at the event were celebrating the Mid-Autumn Moon Festival for the first time.

“It was very fun to experience Asian culture at (the College),” Jing Lin, freshman nursing major, said. “I have never celebrated anything with a group of Chinese people.”