Moon festival brings Chinese culture to Columbia

The annual festival showcases Chinese music, dancing and traditional treats.

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The MU Confucius Institute held its annual moon festival last Friday. The night featured traditional Chinese dance and music, and a piece of mooncake for all the festival-goers.

Red and gold decorations surrounded the park, with lanterns surrounding the festival area. The performances included traditional dance, poetry reading and song using the Erhu, a traditional fiddle-like instrument.

Instrumentalist Mengzhen “Ethan” Li explained that for the Chinese, this festival is all about family reunions. For Li and the other 20 members of the Confucius Institute, the festival has taken on a new meaning.

“[There are] almost 20 of us are here in America, so we’re like a family and we are here to be together and enjoy what we have tonight,” Li said.

The institute members aren’t only here for a vacation. The graduates come to Columbia as interns, co-teaching and serving as native language experts in Columbia schools and at MU.

Bridget Caddell, the program coordinator of the institute explained that by sharing their culture, the performers are doing their jobs and pursuing their passion.

“It’s really neat to see their heart for sharing [their culture] with our students and community,” Caddell said.

Li echoed this sentiment and explained why he sees sharing his culture as important.

“I think that different cultures make the world more colorful,” Li said.

The audience was mostly families with young children who danced to popular Chinese music. For the parents of the children, this event was so much more than a chance for a fun Friday night.

Katherine Sasser, a local mother of three, explained why she decided to bring her children to the event.

“Interacting with people from across the world just gives that powerful relational connection,” Sasser said.

The event hosted about 100 people, according to the institute. More information about the program can be accessed at confucius.missouri.edu

Edited by Janae McKenzie | jmckenzie@themaneater.com

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