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UNCP’s international students celebrate the Moon Festival

October 13, 2009

UNC Pembroke’s Chinese international students celebrated the Moon Festival October 2 with their new friends and family, said event host Deyu Zeng.


Sword play with Hao Zhang

It was fitting that the celebration was a blend of old and new, Chinese and Western. The students celebrated with music, dance, song, traditional moon cakes and some moon pies too. 

Rugui Zhang played the traditional bamboo flute, and Yuting Huang and Xun Zhou played a piano duet.  A folk play of the legend of the Moon Festival featured hip hop dancing.

 Qi Liu, president of the International Student Organization and a third-year student at UNCP from Harbin Normal University, explained the meaning of the festival.

“This is a festival for family reunions,” Liu said. “We celebrate the full moon with round cakes because the circle means perfection in China.”

“It’s a good time for families to get together,” he continued. “I would say it is the equivalent holiday to the American Thanksgiving.”

For Mainland China this Moon Festival has taken on new meaning.

“This year the Moon Festival is more important than ever in China,” said Zifei Zhao. “It is being celebrated with the 60th annual National Day.”


Rugui Zhang on flute

The festival continued with a martial arts sword dance by Hao Zhang and pop songs by Yuanjie Zhao and Wenkai Ye.

Sara Brackin, director of International Programs, said the students were very excited about the Moon Festival.

“The students put a lot of work into this performance, and they were very proud to share their culture with the campus,” Brackin said.

It was the third annual Moon Festival celebration at UNCP, and it was attended by more than 200 in the Annex of the James B. Chavis University Center. The festival was sponsored by the Office of International Programs, who may be contacted at 910.775.4095 or email

The Moon Festival’s folktale: “Zhong Qiu Jie,” which is also known as the Moon Festival, is celebrated on the 15th day of the 8th month of the lunar calendar. It is a time for family members and loved ones to congregate and enjoy the full moon - a symbol of abundance, harmony and luck. Adults will usually indulge in fragrant moon cakes of many varieties with a cup of piping hot Chinese tea, while children play with brightly-lit lanterns.

According to Chinese mythology, the earth once had 10 suns circling over it. One day, all 10 suns appeared together, scorching the earth with their heat. People were dying of thirst and starvation. The earth was saved when a strong archer, Hou Yi, succeeded in shooting down nine of the suns. Yi stole the elixir of life to save the people, but his wife, Chang-E, drank it and flew to the moon. Thus, the legend of the lady who is the goddess of the moon began.


Piano duet by Yuting Huang and Xun Zhou



Jingyuan Chen with a non-traditional Moon Pie