Festival to celebrate fall harvest, Asian cultures

The Baylor Vietnamese Student Association hosted their Mid-Autumn Moon Festival in the Bill Daniel Student Center on Saturday, Sept. 25, 2010. File Photo by Stephen Green

By Julie Tate, Reporter

Get a taste of Asian culture at the Vietnamese Student Association’s 23rd annual Autumn Moon Festival. The event will be at 6:30 p.m. Friday in the Barfield Drawing Room of the Bill Daniel Student Center.

“Autumn Moon is a traditional event celebrated in many Asian cultures. It is a time to give thanks for the fall harvest and to pray for another blessed year,” said College Station senior Kenny Trinh, president of the Vietnamese Student Association.

People celebrate Autumn Moon by having a big festival that involves watching performances by lion dancers for good luck, eating with friends and family, and lighting lanterns as a symbol of thankfulness, Trinh said.

Vietnam’s Autumn Moon Festival took place on Sunday. The Asian celebration, Tet Trung Thu in Vietnamese, is especially popular among children in Vietnam.

“Though the actual day has [passed], the association is proud to bring to you a bit of our culture to share in hopes that Baylor University can experience a part of this great tradition,” Trinh said.

The Vietnamese Student Association’s version of the festival will include performances by several Baylor organizations, such as the Korean Student Association, the Japanese Student Association and the Chinese Student and Scholar Association. The University of Texas’ Vietnamese Student Association will perform at the event as well.

Just like traditional Autumn Moon festivals, the campus event will feature lion dancing, a traditional Asian dance where dancers are masked and costumed to resemble lions or lion tamers. A lion dance is usually accompanied with martial artists and acrobatics, Trinh said.

“There are different types of lion dance, but specifically for the Vietnamese community it is called the unicorn dance (múa lân). The dance is meant to ward off evil spirits,” Trinh said.

In addition to lion dancing, there will also be a fashion show that will incorporate aspects of Vietnamese culture.

“The fashion show will show traditional Vietnamese dresses, áo dài,” said Colleyville junior Thomas Mai, vice president of the association.

Panda Express and moon cakes, which are a traditional Chinese treat eaten to celebrate the festival, will be served at the event for free.

At the end of the show, lion dancers will escort audience members outside for the lantern lighting. All guests will be given a lantern, which will be lit by the Vietnamese Student Association officers.

“From the loud lion dancers to the lighting of the lanterns, this is a special event that cannot be missed,” Trinh said. “Everyone should come out and take in a bit of Vietnamese culture.”