This year was the first year that I got to enjoy the Moon Festival celebration put on by CLC without having to worry too much about trying to find a room to have it in, or come up with a presentation, or try to get people to sign up for the CLC mailing list. It was definitely nice to be able to just enjoy the event without running around like a crazy person the whole time. Like every year, we celebrated with moon cakes and other food, and listened to a presentation about moon festival. As a previous presenter at this exact event last year, I was surprised to actually learn something new about moon festival. In addition to eating moon cakes and gathering with family, another tradition is to carry lanterns, or to hang lanterns with riddles on them for people passing by to solve. I didn’t really know about this, but it sounds like a lovely tradition. I did a little more research on it, and it’s actually kind of interesting, because unlike moon cakes, it doesn’t go all that far back in Chinese history, and nobody really knows why there are lanterns for moon festival. Moon cakes are probably the most well-known tradition associated with the festival, and have been associated with in pretty much for as long as it has existed. They are also only associated with moon festival. Lanterns, on the other hand, are associated with a variety of different festivals, and haven’t always been associated with Moon festival. It actually looks like over time, the traditions associated with lanterns were kind of transmitted between festivals, so that now Moon festival, which did not actually have lanterns, and has no story as to what lanterns originally meant to the festival, is now associated with lanterns. I just think that’s pretty interesting.
Anyway, the CLC Moon festival was a lot of fun. It was good to see all the Chinese professors, especially now that I don’t get to take very many Chinese classes anymore. And it was also good to meet the new CLC members and see old friends. The new CLC officers did a really good job of getting the food and presentations organized, and keeping the event running smoothly, and I can’t wait to see what events CLC has next semester.