September 18 to 22, 2013, Confucius Institute at the University of Central Arkansas (UCACI) hosted a series of activities to celebrate the Chinese Mid-Autumn Festival with Chinese students, UCA faculty and staff, and local community, to share the happiness of the festival, and to introduce Chinese festival culture.
On September 18, UCACI sent Mid-Autumn Festival cards to the administrative departments and colleges at UCA, in order to share the best wishes with the faculty and staff at UCA, and also express thanks for their continuous support to UCACI’s programs and activities.
On the afternoon of September 21, Dr. Guo-ou Zhuang, Director of UCACI, Dr. Lucy Xiaohong Lu, Deputy Director of UCACI, and three other Chinese teachers at UCACI, invited 25 UCA faculty and American friends to the Mid-Autumn celebration party to taste the moon cakes, make dumplings, and play games. Participants showed great interest in the tradition of Mid-Autumn Festival and in making dumplings. They engaged actively and tried to make some themselves. During the party, Director Zhuang gave a short speech, giving festival greetings to the guests and expressing thanks to their help and support. After the dinner, Chinese games such as Jigu Chuanhua, matching pictures with characters, and picking up beans with chopsticks were played. Participants were given craft chopsticks, calligraphy brushes, and Chinese knots as souvenirs. Both Chinese teachers and foreign friends enjoyed the event greatly. As one of the UCA faculty said, “Thank you for all your hard work to make these cultural experiences possible. We feel thankful to have you here with us to share your rich culture. We value our friendship with all our Chinese colleagues and students”.
On the evening of September 22, at the Ida Waldran Auditorium of the Old Main, UCA, the UCA Chinese Scholars and Students Association (CSSA) and UCACI co-hosted a Mid-Autumn Celebration Gala. More than 500 people attended the gala. This is the first time that CSSA and UCACI worked with five other universities within Arkansas (University of Arkansas, University of Arkansas Little Rock, Arkansas State University, etc) to hold the event. Before the show, UCA President Tom Courtway came to the auditorium and met with the UCACI staff and CSSA performers. He thanked UCACI and CSSA to hold such a great event to enhance the diversity of UCA community, and he also wished the performance a great success. Chinese students from six universities presented a wonderful performance for local Chinese people and UCA community. After the show, audience and performers walked into the lobby to taste moon cakes and share feedbacks on the performance. About 30 American high school students from Hot Springs School Districts together with their Chinese teachers were invited to the Celebration Gala.
The series activities to celebrate the Mid-Autumn Festival held by UCACI were presented in different forms, which attracted a large number of people. These activities not only provided chances for Chinese students, and Chinese community to get together and celebrate the festival, but also actively involved the local communities in appreciating Chinese culture, and thus strengthened the friendship between Chinese living in Arkansas and the local community.