The Chinese Student and Scholars Association hosted its Mid-Autumn Festival on September 25th, 2017 at our Los Angeles campus. Coinciding with the first day of the semester, the event served dual purposes for New York Film Academy students. For new students, this was their first opportunity to experience the multiculturalism that takes place at NYFA. Senior students, meanwhile, were able to experience traditional Chinese music and food.
The Mid-Autumn festival is celebrated widely across East Asia. Families gather to gaze at the moon and remember the legend of Chang’e, the goddess of the moon:
There were ten suns in the sky. They scorched the Earth and made life unbearable for everything living on the planet. The archer, Yi, shot down nine of the suns and was rewarded with the elixir of life. Not wanting to obtain immortality without his beloved wife, Chang’e, Yi hid the elixir. However, Yi’s enemy, Fengmeng, wanted the secret to immortality for himself. In an attempt to spare the world from Fengmeng’s rule, Yi’s wife, Chang’e, drank the elixir herself. She then flew to the moon to live out the rest of time. Devastated by the loss of his wife, Yi, placed Chang’e’s favorite fruits and sweets on an altar as a tribute to her.
On the night of the Mid-Autumn Festival, lanterns float across the starlit sky. Alters are adorned with mooncakes made of either lard or vegetable oil and filled with either red beans or lotus seed paste. The sweet traditional treat is circular to represent the moon and the ideas of unity and completeness.
The NYFA celebration opened with traditional dances and songs performed at the Riverside Theater. One student performed a solo on a stringed instrument called a zither. Chinese Club President Pei Jun wanted to make sure that the nearly 300 new Chinese students that had just arrived at our Los Angeles campus had a place where they could celebrate the holiday.
Once the performances were concluded, a packed house headed to the after-party where a DJ had already set up his turntables. He was prepared to spin the night away, or at least until ten when the building closed. The room was decorated with lanterns, and of course, mooncakes were served.
The New York Film Academy would like to thank all of the active members of the Chinese Students and Scholars Association for both helping to educate students in traditional Chinese culture as well as creating a bit of home for our Chinese students, right here in L.A.