Students celebrate Asian culture at Hawkeye's Moon Festival


As you climb the stairs to the hangar, faint music begins playing. The moment you open the door, the scent of Asian cuisine wafts through the air. The rooms are decorated in bright and welcoming colors. The sun has finally set and the moon festival has arrived.

On Monday, August 12, ULM’s Office of International and Multicultural Affairs and the Asian Students Association hosted the Mid-Autumn Festival to celebrate an important event in their culture.

The Moon Festival invited students who wanted to celebrate and meet new people.

Samir Gurung

“As a senior, I had heard about the Moon Festival, but had never actually come to see what it was. Did.”

The festival featured traditional Asian cuisine, speeches on various Asian cultures, soft music, and painting of paper masks.

Multicolored lanterns hung from the ceiling symbolized the five basic elements: metal, wood, water, fire and earth. They represent balance and harmony in the world.

Students drew masks as simple or as complex as they liked. In Asian cultures, masks have contributed to the rituals of worshiping the moon, sky and earth. Traditionally, masks vary in color and shape to impersonate people or historical figures.

Soft music also played in the background. Songs in Korean, Chinese, and Vietnamese came through the speakers.

Marketing professor Joyce Zhou performed a traditional Chinese folk dance called Umbrella. With strong yet smooth steps, Zhou glided across the floor with a bright red paper umbrella.

The students had a difficult time choosing their favorite part of the festival.

“Moon Festival was a lot of fun. I’ve enjoyed everything about it,” said Jenna Colmer, a senior computer science major.

Communications Professor Sara Kim shared how the Moon Festival is celebrated in her home country, South Korea.

“On this holiday, we celebrate the year’s harvest and thank our ancestors and nature for providing so much food for the harvest,” Kim said.

The tradition of this holiday dates back nearly 2,000 years in Korea and can be traced back to the Zhou Dynasty in China.

Samir Gurung

The society at that time was based on agriculture. Harvesting became their main source of food and it played an important role. Moreover, to celebrate the harvest, the women of every family prepared a feast from the freshly harvested crops.

Today, the harvest moon begins with several festivals and traditions from various Eastern and Southeast Asian cultures around the world.The harvest moon is one of the most important holidays in the calendar.

“I really enjoyed Dr. Kim’s speech and really enjoyed meeting new people I wouldn’t normally talk to,” said Mallory Leboeuf, a freshman political science major.

The Moon Festival provided a space for students to learn about other traditions in a fun and interactive way.