Chinese and Vietnamese Students Celebrate the Mooncake Festival


Traditional Mooncake on a plate

There is a new section in 99 Ranch Market in Hacienda Heights, the mooncake section. The market was more crowded than usual.

Parents with their kids lined up in front of the checkout area, waiting to take their mooncake home for their festival.

While waiting, people were having conversations, in different languages, kids in English, parents in Mandarin or Cantonese.

Families gathered together and went out for their dinner, with a bag of mooncake that they bought from the Market.

“It is Mooncake Festival, one of the few times in a year for me and my family to finally have the reunion,” senior Alex Lou said.

Students with Chinese and Vietnamese backgrounds celebrated the Mid-Autumn, or Mooncake Festival on Monday with mooncake. This festival falls on 15th day of the eighth month in the Lunar Calendar, and because each month begins with a new moon, Mid-Autumn Festival falls on a full moon.

The symbolism of the full moon has led to the tradition of families gathering together to celebrate.

“I always have mooncakes with my family and we go out to have a big dinner and watch a lantern show,” junior Jeff Wu said.

“My parish hosts a festival, so they have little kids and they bring lanterns and they would light them up and they would march around,” senior Catherine Vuong said.

For most international students, traveling back to China to have the Mid-Autumn Festival with their own family is unrealistic. Because of that, many international students have different ways to celebrate this festival while they are in the U.S.

“I go out with my friends if they have time,” senior Emily Xie said. “If no one is available, I stay home and eat mooncake. Mooncake is always the priority of the Mid-Autumn Festival.”

“I normally buy mooncake and have dinner with my friends,” senior Batia Bai said. “There was one time, however, I went to Huntington Library with my host family. There was an event that celebrates the Mid-Autumn Festival. It was really fun.”

The festival originates with the legend of a young woman named Chang E, who became a goddess after drinking a special elixir, and Chinese and Vietnamese pray for good fortune and peace to be bestowed upon her.

The mooncake, a Chinese pastry with a thin crust and a filling, is essential for this festival and gives it a second name, the Mooncake Festival. There are several kinds, including meat, red bean, and egg.

“I like to eat the mooncake with eggs in it,” sophomore Ricky Zhou said.

The Mid-Autumn Festival has different meanings for different people.

“The Mid-Autumn Festival is significant to me because it is a day when my family would get together, eat mooncakes and, watch the moon when the weather is good enough,” junior Violet Peng said. “There were always myths surrounding the origin of this festival and I just think it is really interesting.”

“To me, like the moon, the Mid-Autumn Festival means the whole, it means the reunion for us,” freshman Leo Xu said. “Most importantly, we have 7-days vacation along with Chinese National Day vacation. So it is very important to me.