For thousands of years, the Mid-Autumn Festival has been celebrated around the time of the autumn equinox in China because it is the time when the moon is at its fullest and brightest. This year it happened on September 24th. The festival is one of the three major annual traditional holidays in China, the others being Chinese New Year and the Dragon Boat Festival.
On September 25th, a wonderful Mid-Autumn Festival party was held by the Campus Advisor (CA) Program to provide both full-time and exchange students an opportunity to learn more about Chinese culture, enrich campus life, and promote international interaction. Of course, mooncakes, the must-have sweet on this special day, were served, but there were lots of surprises in store as well.
The festival dates back to the Tang Dynasty. As with many celebrations in China, there are ancient legends closely associated with it. One of the most well-known stories dating back to that time is Chang E Flying to the Moon, which is explains the origin of the custom of admiring the moon during the Mid-Autumn Festival.
The celebration at PKU started with a brief introduction of the Mid-Autumn Festival by Jimmy, a Campus Advisor. The PKU Shenzhen Graduate School Chancellor Wu Yundong also attended the party, he extended the warmest festival greetings and best wishes to all international students and other attendees. After the opening, the students were presented with the poem Jing Ye Si, or Night Thoughts, by the Tang Dynasty poet Li Bai. This is one of the most famous poems in the Chinese language. In the poem, Li Bai recounts looking up at the full moon and in the beauty of the moment, feeling a great longing for home. Chancellor Wu first performed the poem for the students as they followed along. Victor Yapmis, Year 2 Management student from PHBS, also stepped up to perform the poem in Chinese. Lastly, Ann Tseng, Year 1 Finance student from PHBS, performed the poem in English.
Afterwards, everyone was divided into 5 teams and played absolutely fun games together. The moon trivia was clearly related to the festival (Do you know when China plans to land a lunar probe on the “Dark Side of the Moon”?), and other games involved ping-pong balls, Oreos, and balloons, which are at least sort of moon-shaped. All students took an active part in the games and laughed happily. The most exciting part was carrying balloons: two people need to go from the beginning until the end, carrying a balloon in between their bodies. They need to cooperate with each other and be very careful not to drop the balloon. Finally, the first ranked team received cute pandas as the prize!
This party was the first Mid-Autumn Festival event ever organized by the CA Program and it brought a joyful, interesting, and educational experience to international students!
“In Thailand, we always celebrate this season as well for the good fortune. But it’s nice to know about the Chinese holiday’s fairy tale. Then, I also enjoyed the pizza and ice-breaking games!” (Gift Chiewcharnsuwan from Thailand)
“I think the whole thing was organized quite nicely. I really enjoyed the games, especially the question game because it made us interact more.” (Victor Yapmis, from Turkey)
Written by Xia Zhidan