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The Scarlet & Black

The Scarlet & Black

CSA and AAA hold Mid-Autumn Festival

Grinnell students will get the chance to see student performances, eat Chinese food from local restaurant China Sea and try traditional pastries called moon cakes at the College’s annual Mid-Autumn Festival, which will take place in Harris Cinema today at 6 p.m.

The Chinese Student Association (CSA) and Asian American Association (AAA) are co-hosting the event.

The history of the first Mid-Autumn Festival dates back to ancient China, but its popularity has spread to other Southeastern nations such as Vietnam. Although the festival was originally held to worship the Moon Goddess, its modern form is focused on honoring the tradition of returning home and spending time with loved ones.

“We go back to our home and spend time with our family, we watch the full moon together, and we’ll eat moon cake,” said festival organizer Chong Zuo ’15. “The full moon means reunion.”

The CSA and AAA hope to emphasize that although the Mid-Autumn Festival is primarily celebrated in Chinese-speaking countries, the event will be open and accessible to all.

“It’s very open to the entire community,” said Anne Tan ’15, an organizer for the event. “It’s not just for Chinese people or Asian people. It’s an event that we want to be a celebration for the entire campus.”

After dinner and beverages are served, a series of live student performances featuring a wide variety of traditional Mid-Autumn Festival-inspired acts, instruments and costumes will be presented on-stage.

“We will have student performances, and that usually includes a student who is learning Chinese or a Chinese student,” Zuo said. “This year, we’ve invited a Vietnamese student to perform as well, and we have a martial-arts performance as well.”

Due to the idiosyncrasies of the lunar calendar, the CSA and AAA had only one week after arriving on campus to plan their event, but they hope this will be the best and biggest Mid-Autumn festival ever hosted at Grinnell.

Zuo hopes that Grinnellians will get to try the moon cakes purchased by the Chinese department, which the organizers expect will be a new and positive experience for many students who attend.

The CSA and AAA want to encourage students who may be nervous about attending their first Mid-Autumn festival to show up without worry and with an empty stomach.

“Just show up! The awesome thing about most Chinese festivals is that they’re centered around food,” Tan said. “Come and be yourselves!”

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