Published Sept. 23, 2018
by HU Haiping “Claire,” translated by ZHAO Lina “Karen”
The 2018 Moon Festival was co-hosted by the MU Confucius Institute, the Mid-Missouri Chinese Association, the Columbia Friends of China, and the MU Asian Affairs Center. More than 400 people arrived at Twin Lakes Recreation Area to a packed and warm atmosphere full of joy and laughter. People gathered at the beautiful lake to celebrate the Mid-Autumn Festival together. It could be called the biggest Mid-Autumn Festival Celebration in Columbia in years.
As soon as the red and yellow lions appeared, they caught everyone’s eyes. The two lions were danced by four volunteer teachers from the Confucius Institute: ZHANG Yu “Iris,” LIU Di “Estella,” WEN Yifan and ZHAO Lina “Karen.” The four dancers were all girls, so the whole performance was very vivid and lovely. The program consisted of more than ten special singing and dancing acts in a variety of forms – brilliant and fantastic. The traditional Chinese musical instrument orchestra was composed of three volunteer teachers from the Confucius Institute: WENG Junyan “Revon,” SONG Wenfei “Fiona,” and ZHOU Yang “Grace.” They introduced three traditional Chinese musical instruments, guzheng, erhu and bamboo flute, to local residents of Columbia through a powerful song, “A Smile From The Sea”. The stirring melody was full of homesickness.
The Chinese duet, “The Moon Represents My Heart,” was performed by Sang Kim, director of the MU Confucius Institute and Bridget Caddell, program coordinator. Together it brought the party to a climax. The celebration featured special acts in the Tai Chi Show and Health Qi Gong Dance. The special team consisted of Professor YANG Wenfang from the MU Confucius Institute, volunteer teacher ZHANG Xuelian “Shirley” and a number of local American kung fu lovers, and health qi gong fans. They rehearsed for more than a month. Together, they presented a very harmonious and moving performance of Chinese-foreign cooperation to all the guests.
The audience enjoyed the characteristics and charm of Chinese dance with “Jing Hong Dance” by MU Confucius Institute’s volunteer teacher LI Zhulin “Jolin” and “Velvet Flower” by the Chinese Association. At the end of the party, all of the guests were given mooncakes. Standing by the lake, we watched the bright full moon in the sky and enjoyed this special treat from China.
This Moon Festival received the attention of local media. Local TV and radio stations came to the party to record and interview guests. A number of volunteers and performers were interviewed.
After the celebration, a Chinese-American professor from the University Of Missouri said, “The celebration tonight is very special. It not only celebrates the Mid-Autumn Festival, but also provides an opportunity for us to promote Chinese culture. I have been in Columbia for many years and this is the first time I have seen a Mid-Autumn Festival with many special performances.” Another professor said, “It’s not easy to organize such a big event in such a small town. Thank you to all the organizers. It’s very touching to get so many Chinese together!” A visiting scholar said, “My family in China saw the photos I sent to them and the video. They all felt great, especially the collective Health Qi Gong performance. They saw a lot of foreigners. It’s obvious to see the influence of Chinese culture.” A local high school student and her mother said, “This party is fantastic! This is the first time for us to participate in such activities. We know about the Mid-Autumn Festival in China tonight and feel the special atmosphere of Chinese people gathering. It is really a very interesting festival. Plus, mooncakes are great! Thank you!”