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UB to celebrate Chinese Moon Festival

Published September 17, 2013

Traditional dance, the music of two traditional Chinese plucked instruments—the guzheng and pipa—along with the whispered whistle of the clarinet-like bawu and Chinese long flutes will fill the stage of Lippes Concert Hall in Slee Hall, North Campus, on Sept. 19 for UB’s fourth annual celebration of the Chinese Moon Festival.

The event, presented by the UB Confucius Institute, is held to promote campus and community interest in Chinese culture and language. It will take place at 7 p.m. and is free and open to the public.

The visiting students from Beijing’s Capital Normal University art troupe have practiced the performance the entire summer.  

When the curtains open, they will present such traditional Chinese art forms as the Peacock Dance, instrumental recitals and martial arts demonstrations that date back to the Shang Dynasty, nearly 2000 years BCE

Before and after the celebration, the troupe will perform at Western New York schools to encourage students to be knowledgeable, respectful and open-minded when faced with international cultures and traditions in a rapidly globalizing environment.

The Moon Festival, also known as the Mid-Autumn Festival, is one of the most important events in the Chinese calendar and traditionally involves the reunion of long-separated relatives in celebration of the last day of the summer harvest and the arrival of the vibrant autumn moon.

“In the past three years, we have conducted dozens of performance tours [for] Western New York student audiences that so far total more than 20,000,” says Eric Yang, executive director of the Confucius Institute.

“I am very happy that students and community members enjoy such performances,” he says. “This experience has increased the desire of the student to learn more about and appreciate Chinese culture.”

To date, 11 local schools have conducted institute-sponsored programs in Chinese language and culture, and others plan to implement the program next year, according to Yang.

The Moon Festival, a legal holiday in China and several other Asian countries, is celebrated by everyone from farmers to businessmen with the giving of moon cakes. The sweet, filled pastries are considered an indispensable delicacy symbolizing respect during this time of year. They are so closely related to the holiday that the event is sometimes referred to as the “Moon Cake Festival,” according to Qiaomei Lu, the Confucius Institute’s Chinese director.  

Other associated traditions are the planting of mid-autumn trees, dragon dances and the burning of incense on the day of the year when the moon is at its fullest and roundest.

The Confucius Institute is a network of more than 400 organizations around the world that promote the same ideas and teachings. UB’s institute is a collaborative program involving the university’s College of Arts and Sciences, Capital Normal University and the Chinese Language Council International.  

For more information about the Confucius Institute and the moon festival celebration, contact Yang at 645-7919 or