Legend holds that in the early days of humanity the earth had nine suns, making it too hot for the people of China to survive. A hero named Huo Yi shot down eight of the suns, but his power made him arrogant. Dissatisfied, his wife Chan E stole Yi’s eternal life potion. When she drank it, she was flown to the moon, where legend says she still rests. Chinese culture now commemorates Chan E during the annual Chinese Moon Festival.
On Saturday Sept. 28, when the moon is expected to be at its brightest, California Lutheran’s Department of Languages and Cultures along with the Pacific Pearl Music Association and The Center for Asian Performing Arts will be sponsoring a variety of musical ensembles to perform live in celebration of the Chinese Moon Festival.
Although just recently having been proclaimed a “public holiday” in the Government of the People’s Republic of China, the Chinese Moon Festival (also known as the Mid-Autumn festival) is a traditional holiday in the Chinese culture that has been celebrated since the Shang Dynasty.
The festival is held on the day during which the moon is at its fullest, usually taking place in late September or early October. According to Debby Chang, a professor in the language department, the Chinese Moon Festival is considered an important holiday in Chinese culture.
“Through the festival is a way for family and friends to get together and admire the moon” said Chang. “[It is] a way of giving thanks; almost like the way Americans celebrate Thanksgiving.”
This will be the fifth year CLU has hosted the festival with a different theme accompanying each year’s festivities. This year’s theme is the combination of East and West, meaning the bands will be using Chinese instruments to play Western music and Western instruments to play Chinese music.
The Concert will also feature performances from CLU students and is likely to have appearances from President Kimball as well as other members of the Thousand Oaks community.
“The focus of the concert is community. Whats really great about the festival is that it gives people from both American and Chinese cultures an opportunity to get involved in the celebration and learn about the legends that coincide with the culture,” Chang said.
Norwegian transfer student Martin Saersten said he’s interested in learning about a new culture.
“I’m planning on going to the concert with my roommates this Saturday,” Saersten said. “I don’t know much about Chinese culture per-say, but I’ve always kept an interest and the concert seems like a good way to have some fun and learn about the more modern practices.”
According to Chang, the concert is expecting to bring 400-500 people, so early arrival will be necessary for good seating.
So if you’re interested in learning and celebrating Chinese Culture, head down to the chapel and enjoy the celebration!
Published Sept. 25, 2013