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Large Crowd Celebrates Mid-autumn Festival with the Confucius Institute

 

Confucius Institute Mid-autumn Festival celebration in the Student Union

On September 13, approximately 500 students, faculty and staff from UB and the Buffalo community gathered in the Student Union on UB’s north campus to celebrate the Mid-autumn Festival, also known as the Moon Festival. The festival was organized and sponsored by the University at Buffalo Confucius Institute to showcase many different aspects of Chinese culture with a number of activities throughout the celebration.

The Mid-Autumn Festival occurs on the 15th day of the 8th month of the Chinese calendar, which is the night of the full moon between early September and early October. The Mid-autumn Festival is a time for people to gather together with family and friends, celebrate the harvest, eat mooncakes, and enjoy the full moon. It is generally considered the second most important holiday in Chinese culture after the Lunar New Year.

The Mid-Autumn Festival occurs around the same time as the birthday of the Confucius Institute’s namesake, Confucius, which is traditionally celebrated on September 28. Worldwide, Confucius Institutes celebrate “Confucius Institute Day” during September, often in conjunction with the Mid-autumn Festival celebration.

Confucius Institute teacher Vicky Zou explains how to play the yangqin

People who stopped by the celebration in the Student Union enjoyed traditional Chinese food like dumplings, noodles, sesame seed balls and mooncakes. It was no surprise when some Chinese international students said that the mooncakes “tasted like home.”

Attendees also enjoyed a variety of musical performances. Eva Pan, a community volunteer, played the guqin; Ming Luan, a Confucius Institute guest teacher from Nichols School, played the guzheng; and Vicky Zou, a guest teacher from St. Gregory the Great School, played the yangqin. Two UB student performers also contributed: undergraduate student Yipeng Zhang performed on the suona and graduate student Chengzhe Sun played the hulusi. Students eating throughout the Student Union could listen in and enjoy the performances as well.

Gold Summit Institute also contributed to the event as they performed a spectacular dragon dance and held kung fu lessons, where people learned different techniques led by Master Erin Markle, founding president of Gold Summit. Many students from Canisius High School who were attending the event enthusiastically participated in the kung fu lesson.

Students learn kung fu moves from Gold Summit Institute

Students from UB’s English Language Institute also attended the festival, and everyone enjoyed playing Chinese games like jianzi (Chinese hacky sack), kongzhu (Chinese yo-yo), and ping pong. A calligraphy table was available for those who wanted to practice writing Chinese characters. Attendees could also take photos of themselves in traditional Chinese clothing from dynasties of past eras.

UB freshman Jadzia Lyons said, “It was great to see so many people with diverse backgrounds come out and celebrate this Chinese festival. I think it’s amazing that the UB community can come together to celebrate with people from backgrounds other than our own and learn a little bit about another culture and its customs.”

 

UB students in traditional Chinese dress