Over 200 people attended Mid-Autumn Festival celebrations Saturday evening to participate in a celebration revolving around the community, the element of light and mooncakes.
The IU Asian American Association in collaboration with seven other campus organizations organized the event. The festival, which took place at the South Lawn at the Hamilton Lugar School of Global and International Studies, had several booths, each dedicated to a tradition during the festival or an organization and their efforts to raise awareness of Asian culture.
Although the Mid-Autumn Festival is most commonly associated with Chinese folklore and culture, event posters said the festival is also celebrated in other East Asian cultures, such as Vietnam, Singapore and Taiwan. Mooncakes in these festivals pay homage to the moon and bright lanterns and the color yellow represent light and good luck during the fall season.
Molly Cai, IU sophomore and AAA Social Advocacy Chair, said she was pleased with the number of organizations willing to collaborate in the association’s first event of the academic year. She said the AAA’s goal was to provide the IU community with a means of connecting with Asian Pacific cultures and their traditions during this time of year.
“The energy that’s coming from the start of the year is something special,” Cai said.
Catherine Qing, IU senior and Culture of Care member, said the event was about acknowledging the diversity of Asian culture. She said each country has its own traditions for the festival, and each variation is worth learning about and embracing.
The festival included activities like a dance performance by K-pop-inspired dance group UNi.SON.
Culture of Care had a booth with a matching game focusing on international rituals during the Mid-Autumn Festival with candy prizes. Students interested in learning about the fall season in Kyoto, Japan, visited the Japanese Student Association, which had written fortunes, free matcha ice cream and rice crackers.
The AAA booth was another popular venue for buying club merchandise and sampling mooncakes, the traditional dessert prepared for this festival. Nearby at the Wishing Tree, students celebrated the Chinese tradition of writing wishes on tree branches for them to come true.
Hannah Nguyen, IU senior and the president of the Lotus Interest Group, said recruitment was minimal during the pandemic.
“With this in person, it’s been a lot more exciting and really nice to socialize and find our place at home again,” Nguyen said.
IU sophomore Kara Yang said she was glad to be a part of the in-person culture festival and felt like her time at university restarted in a nice way.
The Lotus Interest Group, a greek student organization, conducted a lucky star origami session. In between BTS’s “IDOL” and other songs, many students made lucky stars to exchange with friends and for keepsakes.
Celine Wang, IU junior and Lotus Interest Group vice president said the group has members of several ethnicities and, since the practice of making lucky stars is performed in several cultures, the activity reflected the group’s diversity.
She said she and other members considered other booths’ crafts but decided to only make stars because of the night the festival took place.
“We grew up hearing stories of Chang’e, the lady of the moon, and since it’s going to be a full moon, we will do stars to accompany the sky,” Wang said.