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Mid-Autumn festival celebrates Chinese culture

Brian Duskey | Lifestyles Editor
German instructor Philipp Schmidt and Chinese instructor Jianhua Lian sing a poem at the festival.

Just because something is foreign doesn’t mean it needs to be ignored. Whether it’s your homeland or across the globe, culture is always relevant.

Mid-Autumn’s Day is one of the biggest cultural events for the Chinese and the popular festival was celebrated this past week at Western in the Blum Union.

The day itself celebrates the end of the fall harvest and is held during a full moon, on the 15th day of the eighth month of the year of the Chinese calendar.

The important festivities include the carrying and display of Chinese lanterns and the serving of Mooncake, a delicious Chinese dessert.

This celebration was led by Jianhua Lian, an exchange professor from China, who is teaching the beginning Chinese courses here at Western.

“I want more people to know more about China,” said Lian. “Through this festival, this celebration, people get to know the culture.”

Through out the festival, faculty of the foreign language department and its students presented information to the guests of the celebration about the important history of the festival.

The presentations were very diverse. There were straight-forward speeches given about the history in front of a PowerPoint, but there were also several students and faculty putting on a short play about the history of Mid-Autumn’s Day.

The presentations were not restricted to Mid-Autumn’s Day either, there was also a poetry reading from some of China’s most notable poets, to get a feel for the arts of China, as well.

In addition to the readings, there were also poems sung in front of the guests at the festival.

The audience participated a lot in this festival, as well. There were several trivia games about Chinese history that were put on to help the guests learn more about the Chinese culture.

These little proceedings really brought some life into the festival and engaged several members of the festival who may not be used to Chinese cultures.

“Chinese culture is very fascinating. It has a diversity of customs and we have a very long history,” Lian said.

Lian believes that a lot of other countries know a lot about the United States, but fewer people in the United States know things about other cultures and countries like China. She sees that the trend is changing, but still wants to help move it further along.

Senior Angie Chuda attended the event and enjoyed the entire celebration.

“I thought it was great; very informational. I learned a lot about China and Chinese culture,” Chuda said.

Chuda did feel that there was some confusion on what the event was, though. She was unaware that it was a sit-down event,  and felt that the promoters for the event should have made that more clear.

“They should do a better job of advertising that it is an event that you sit through [and] not just stop by,” said Chuda.

The turn out to the event was fairly good, as all the seats were filled. But Lian expected more out of the event.

“I expect more people to come, but I think the time maybe might not be very perfect,” said Lian.

The event was at 3:30 p.m. and Lian thought that was a bad time to put it at because several members of the Chinese community in St. Joseph were unable to make it because they would either still be at work or just getting off of work. It also ran into class schedules for some students, who may have been interested in attending the festival.

Lian also hopes that more people, after attending the festival, may want to learn even more about Chinese culture and history.

“People in China are very friendly so, if they like, they could come and sit in my class for a little bit and know something about China,” said Lian. “That will help them go to China and survive.”

Next year, Lian plans to teach a culture course called “China Today.” So she will continue to try and educate students on the cultures of China.

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