Chinese Club Starts Year Off by Celebrating Annual Chinese Holiday
大家好！On Sept. 13, 2019, Project Pengyou, the Chinese cultural club, hosted its annual Moon Festival, or Mid-Autumn Festival （中秋节）in AC1, attracting students of all majors with its traditional instrumental music and overall peaceful allure. This year, over 50 students came together to taste test the numerous flavors of mooncakes and try their hands at lantern painting.
Project Pengyou is open to all students with an appetite for cultural learning and an openness to experiencing Chinese traditions. “More than half of the students in attendance were just interested in learning Chinese culture, without actually taking a Chinese language class, and that excited me for the progress of this club,” says Club President Nicole Wood.
Project Pengyou at ERAU, a sub-chapter of the global Project Pengyou organization, educates and celebrates traditional Chinese holidays and festivities. Sept. 13 happened to be the moon festival, a revered holiday in Chinese culture. Around this time, the moon is said to be at its biggest and fullest size, a symbol of harmony and happiness. The ancient story, of course, is one of true love, between Hou Yi and Chang’e. Because Archer Hou Yi was the God of the Sun, Chang’e drank the elixir of immortality so she could fly to the moon to be closer to her lover. This unconventional couple is only reunited once a year, when the moon is at its brightest, powered by the force that is their love. Evidently, this festival is the closing of the harvest season and gives thanks to unity and togetherness. Chinese families traditionally offer sacrifices to the moon, reconnect with friends and family that live afar, and break bread over mooncakes.
To many on campus, mooncakes are an unfamiliar food choice, yet a tasty symbol of family reunion that is custom to the Moon Festival. These small pastries are traditionally cut into the same number of pieces as there are members in the family. For all those who enjoy baking, mooncakes consist of two simple ingredients: wheat flour and sweet stuffing of one’s choosing, such as sugar or lotus seed powder for example. Mooncakes are small, colorful desserts, quite similar to macaroons.
In retrospect, Project Pengyou’s 2019 Moon Festival was a successful opening festival to the school year, as Public Relations Allyson Campbell says in English, “While we had lots of fun, we would like to get our community growing, so feel free to join us at our next festivity!” and President Nicole relays in Mandarin, “虽然我们有很好玩儿的活动，我们想很多人会参加我们的社团。请来我们的下个活动,”. Alas, keep an eye out for the next Project Pengyou event, it may or may not involve Boba tea.
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