SPA celebrates the Chinese Moon Festival


Graphic by Jessica Mouton

On Friday, Sept. 13, Nicholls State University Student Programming Association (SPA) will be hosting a moon watching event in celebration of the Chinese Moon Festival at 6 p.m. until 8:30 p.m. in the Quad. The event will feature music alongside the viewing of the full moon. 

Also known as the Mid-Autumn Festival, the Chinese Moon Festival can be traced back to ancient China, though it is also observed in certain Vietnamese communities. The ancient Chinese noticed a correlation between the position of the moon and the changing of seasons. 

In order to pay thanks to the moon for its work, people started offering up a sacrifice during autumn. 

During the early days of the celebration, there was no festival background and it was mainly enjoyed by the royal class during the Autumnal Equinox. It was not until hundreds of years later that we saw the common people embracing this custom. During the Tang Dynasty, it was established as an official festival, celebrated by people of all classes.

The Chinese Moon Festival is a way to pay thanks to the moon and celebrate the harvest.

On the day of the festival, participants celebrate family both near and far, offer sacrifices to the moon and appreciate it in its glory and eat traditional Chinese moon cakes.

The moon cake, however, is a special component of the Mid-Autumn Festival. These round pastries come in many flavors, and they represent the reunion of family. During the festival, these cakes are exchanged between loved ones in order to wish each other long and happy lives. Oftentimes, communities light paper lanterns and take part in lion or dragon dances for good luck. 

Those who partake in this tradition also use the holiday as an opportunity to spend time with family. These celebrations take place across East Asia in observation of mid-autumn.  In China, this is the second most widely celebrated festival, behind the festivities of the Chinese New Year.

The festival always falls on the fifteenth day of the eighth month, according to the Chinese lunar calendar. This is the closest full moon to the Autumnal Equinox. There is no yearly fixed date. However, it is this time of year that the moon is at its brightest and roundest. 

This year, the festival is celebrated on Friday, but the holiday will be observed from Friday through Sunday.