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Festival highlights culture

Wei Lin | Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Performers showcased weeks of preparation Friday during the Chinese program’s fourth Mid-Autumn Festival Celebration, which featured song performances, dance performances and story-telling in the student lounge in the Coleman-Morse Center. Students taking Chinese, international students from China and students interested in the Chinese culture attended the celebration.

The Chinese program, part of Notre Dame’s Department of East Asian Languages and Culture, has hosted the Mid-Autumn Festival Celebration in 2008, 2009 and 2010 but was not able to plan for it during the years 2011 and 2012. Chinese associate teaching professor Chengxu Yin said the event was a “great success” with “overwhelmingly positive” student feedback in the past.

“There are two primary goals in organizing this event. First, we take advantage of this opportunity to introduce an important Chinese cultural tradition to our language students [as] we present the history of the Mid-Autumn Festival to our students,” Yin said. “As part of the celebration, we give our students the opportunity to taste moon cakes. Students give some performances in Chinese, thereby combining learning with entertainment.”

“Our second goal is to provide students with an opportunity to get to know each other and all the Chinese faculty and to build a larger learning community early on in the academic year.”

In an interview conducted in Chinese, assistant professional specialist Congcong Ma said the event succeeded in its goal of fostering student-teacher relationships.  

“The event encouraged student to voluntarily showcase their acts and it allowed teachers to discover their students’ talents,” Ma said. “[The event also] publicized the Chinese program, offered the students a learning platform for Chinese culture and increased students’ focus, therefore inspiring eagerness to learn.”

The celebration included dance performances, including a Tibetan Dance of “Love Song of Kangding” performed by visiting guest lecturers Xiaosha Wei and Yuan Xiao and visiting assistant professional specialist Wei Wang.

Chinese literature associate professor Liangyan Ge told the audience the legend of the Mid-Autumn Festival, and every participant drew a numbered slip to enter the raffle for a chance to win a prize.

Food was served at the end of the celebration, including moon cakes which are traditionally part of the Festival.

“The most successful part of the celebration was the ‘edutainment’ (educational entertainment), allowing the students to understand Chinese culture and learn facts in a fun environment,” Ma said. “Next year’s celebration will most likely have a change in venue [since] the lounge in the Coleman-Morse [Center] was a little too small and students in the very back could not hear clearly. At the same time, we look to increase the variety of performances.”

Sophomore Christopher Rhyne, a psychology and Chinese major, said he would attend the event again if they held it next year.

“The shows and the games were all nice to watch and fun,” Rhyne said. “However, I wish the host spoke a little louder [because] it was hard to hear. I also wished they had more seating.”

Senior Chinese and political science major and poverty studies minor Dominic Romeo said he was impressed by the commitment of those involved with the event.

 “The willingness of everybody involved to give up their Friday evenings to celebrate this event speaks volumes about the uniqueness of the Notre Dame Chinese [program] and the enthusiasm of its students,” Romeo said.

Chinese Program coordinator and associate professor, Yongping Zhu said he appreciates the support from the Office for Undergraduate Studies, the College of Arts and Letters.sthe Institute for Asia and Asian Studies, the Kellogg Institute for International Studies and the Center for thf Study of Languages and Culture.

“I also appreciate my colleagues, other Chinese instructors and some students for their great efforts for this event,” Zhu said. “They have done a lot for the event.”

Contact Wei Lin at wlin4@nd.edu