As the end of September approached, Grove City College celebrated the Mid-Autumn Festival. This festival—one of the most important in Chinese culture—falls on the 15th day of the eighth lunar month, just in the middle of fall season. Also known as Reunion Day, Mid-Autumn Festival is a day for family gathering. After eating together, families conduct a ceremony worshiping the moon while eating mooncakes and fruit. The mooncakes—originally shaped like the full moon—symbolize unity and happiness. In some parts of China, people also fly lanterns in the evening as a symbol of praying for blessings.
The Chinese Club of Grove City College has held the Mid-Autumn Festival party each year since 2011. This year’s celebration started with the reading of a poem in both Chinese and English by the club president. Once the meaning of the piece was explained, the club vice president then demonstrated how to make “icy-skin” mooncakes. Each of these confections consisted of dough made of rice and other ingredients and red bean paste. The red bean paste, already made into a small round ball, was wrapped in a steamed skin and rolled in powdered sugar. The dough ball was then pressed in a mold with Asian patterns to make it into a beautiful mooncake. After the demonstration, everyone was invited to make their own mooncake.
While some attendees were doing this, others were occupied with different activities. In one area, there was a game where participants had to pick up as many small red beans as possible with chopsticks. As suspected, this was comically difficult for everyone, but also fun to do and watch. In the end, there was a definite winner that was announced near the end of the night.
Another table offered a space for those of all ages to attempt origami, the ancient art of paper folding. There were many different patterns, such as cranes and flowers, to try, and everyone was able to take whatever they had made with them. Additional activities included a Pictionary-style game as well as a snack table where guests could brew their own tea.
The night end with the flying of paper lanterns. Everyone found a partner to help manage their lantern, and once the attendees had tied fishing line to each, they headed outside. Once in front of Rockwell, the small paraffin squares that fueled the lanterns were lit, and each flew on the quad. Some were extinguished by their owners or the wind, while others went up in flames after catching on fire. It was a memorable end to a fun festival that is sure to draw a larger crowd next year.