The UT Confucius Institute gave East Tennesseans a taste of Chinese culture through the celebration of the Moon Festival last week.
More than two hundred people attended the event, which featured Chinese food, moon cakes for guests, several door prize drawings, and ten performances including dances, songs, and a martial arts demonstration. Performers included members of the UT and local community. The festival was held at Pellissippi State Community College.
The Moon Festival, also known as the Mid-Autumn Festival, falls on the fifteenth day of the eighth month of the Chinese lunar calendar. It is very close to the date of the autumnal equinox. It is the second largest festival in China, after the Spring Festival.
The Moon Festival was sponsored by the UT Confucius Institute, a university-wide collaboration with Southeast University in Nanjing, China, to bring Chinese language and cultural knowledge to UT students and the greater community. The institute is based in UT’s Center for International Education.
The event was co-sponsored by the UT Chinese Students and Scholars Association and Pellissippi State.
As part of the celebration, the UT Chinese Students and Scholars Association’s Uni-X dance group choreographed and presented two dances. The first was Yong Chun, a Chinese fan dance that integrates mellow music and simple dress. The dance has been a part of Chinese culture for more than two thousand years and is often performed at cultural festivals and other events.
The second was Jing Hong, a Chinese classical sleeve dance, featured in the popular Chinese TV series Empresses in the Palace. Long sleeves express the dancers’ feelings through graceful movement. The sleeves also play a role in traditional Chinese opera.