Vanderbilt community celebrates Mid-Autumn Festival

APIDA and PCSO hosted a Mid-Autumn Festival mooncake making workshop at the Demo Cooking Lab in celebration of the holiday.


Vanessa Schor

Graphic of symbols associated with the Mid-Autumn Festival (Hustler Multimedia/Vanessa Schor).

Jenny Yang, Staffer In-Training

The American Pacific Islander Desi Association (APIDA) and the Peabody Chinese Student Association (PCSO) hosted a mooncake-making workshop on Sept. 11 at the Student Recreation Center in honor of the Mid-Autumn Festival, which took place on Sept. 10.

APIDA and PCSO officers told stories associated with the festival to educate students about the history of the event, and attendees played trivia games. 

Each attendee was given two balls of mooncake dough and two balls of red bean paste. The officers showed each table of students how to shape the mooncakes and use hand-pressed mooncake mold stamps to create different designs. 

Students making mooncakes at the Demo Cooking Lab at the Student Recreation Center.
Students making mooncakes at the Demo Cooking Lab at the Student Recreation Center (Hustler Staff/Jenny Yang).

The Mid-Autumn Festival, also known as Zhongqiu Jie (中秋节) in Chinese, is celebrated on the 15th day of the eighth month of the Chinese lunar calendar. It is regarded as the second most important festival in China after Chinese New Year. 

A tradition that has gone back 3,000 years to the Zhou Dynasty (1045 – 221 BC), the Mid-Autumn Festival is sometimes called the Mooncake Festival. The holiday always falls on a full moon and people often celebrate the festival by spending time with family, eating mooncakes and moon watching. 

Some attendees said they enjoyed being able to experience the foods their families usually eat during the holiday.

“I celebrate it [the Mid-Autumn Festival] by eating mooncakes,” first-year Kathy Wang said. “I love the yolk ones!” 

Other students also said that they enjoyed getting to meet other students from similar cultural backgrounds. 

“I thought it was really great and fun, and a good way to meet new people and introduce people to the Mid-Autumn Festival,” sophomore Eileen Zheng said. 

First-year graduate student Zakiyah Stafhil said the event was a good opportunity to learn about a new culture.

“I never knew about the Mid-Autumn festival before, so it was fascinating to hear the story behind it and try to make the mooncake, which is one of the essential elements of the celebration,” Stafhil said.