On Thursday, Oct. 1, the Asian American Students Association (AASA) celebrated the Mid-Autumn Festival, adapting the conventionally in-person celebration to a virtual medium.
The Mid-Autumn Festival is celebrated by many Asian countries, including China, Vietnam, and Korea. AASA Vice President Cheyenne Zhang ’22 explained that the holiday is “a celebration of the harvest.”
Food is traditionally central to the celebration, specifically the consumption of mooncakes — small, round pastries with a rich, thick filling. Zhang explained how mooncakes are an integral part of the celebration of the Mid-Autumn Festival due to their symbolic significance, stating that mooncakes “represent the moon, and I guess it’s a time of appreciating the moon, and what it brings to us.”
“One aspect of the celebration that we could not focus on as much as usual was eating mooncakes and other sweets,” AASA Co-President Henry Slater ’22 told The Daily Princetonian.
Despite not being able to translate this aspect of the celebration to a virtual format, AASA still brought students together.
“We celebrated the Mid-Autumn Festival by showing a short video about the history of the celebration before going into breakout rooms to make paper lanterns and play autumn-themed games of Skribbl.io,” Slater noted.
Although the celebration was different this year, Slater and Zhang both expressed that this virtual celebration had its own present and future advantages.
“One advantage of celebrating virtually was the breakout room format, which enabled us to more directly connect with first-years and other students in ways that would have been more difficult in a larger group on campus” Slater explained.
Zhang shared a similar sentiment, stating how this celebration “accelerated” AASA’s goal to increase its social activities. She described that “community is a huge part of what we want to do.”
“I wish we were able to send everyone mooncakes,” Zhang said. But while aspects of the celebration differed this year, its essence remained constant. It remained a time to, in the words of Zhang, “celebrate the people you have around you.”