The independent newspaper of the University of Iowa community since 1868

The Daily Iowan

The independent newspaper of the University of Iowa community since 1868

The Daily Iowan

The independent newspaper of the University of Iowa community since 1868

The Daily Iowan

A taste of Chinese home


By Zhao Li  | [email protected]

Chinese students on campus miss out on celebrating festivals with their families, so they work hard to celebrate with each other instead.

The Mid-Autumn Festival — Zhongqiu Jie in Mandarin — is a traditional Chinese holiday in which people gather with their families to enjoy the happiness.

According to tradition, on the day of the festival, the Moon will turn into a circle, which represents family reunion in Chinese. Because Chinese students in Iowa City are not able to go back to their home and celebrate with their families, many of them chose to celebrate together.

The University of Iowa Chinese Student and Scholar Association threw a gala Sept. 26 in the IMU Second-Floor Ballroom. Organizers wanted to create sense of family for all students who attended.

Dancer Manman Tai, from Guangdong, said she and her fellow performers practiced very hard to prepare for the gala.

“We practiced three weeks for the dance and approximately 10 hours each time,” Tai said. “We just want to bring happiness to all the students who are not able to go back to their families.”

Tai is the president of Chinese Dance Club at the UI. She and other club members put on three different dance performances at the gala.

“We have a Korean pop dance, a hip-hop, and a boy-group dance,”  Tai said. “They are all the most popular songs now, and we practiced really hard for all of them.”

Tai also emphasized the performers were trying to make the students feel at home.

“We want to create a family atmosphere for them,” she said. “Nobody should be lonely on this day

Liang Shan, a UI sophomore from Nanjing, said he was not able to get together with his family for the festival this year.

“My family, either working or studying all across [China], all fly back home, and we have a big meal together,” Shan said. “We watch the round Moon together and pray for every family member, and eat a special dessert called mooncake.  But I am not able to go home this year because I’m studying in the U.S. now.

Mooncakes are a traditional Chinese pastry served during the festival. They are often filled with red bean or lotus seed paste. 

Shan said it was not his first Mid-Autumn Festival away from his family, but it was his first time celebrating with friends.

“I didn’t celebrate last year because of school work,” Shan said. “But this year, I and my friends chose to stay together, watch this gala, and celebrate the festival with other Chinese students here.”

This is Chinese freshman Yutong Yang’s first time being away from her family during the Mid-Autumn Festival.

“I do miss my home, and I think having fun with my friends will make my homesickness a lot better,” she said. “I also do miss the food back home, like mooncakes. At this gala, we can have different kinds of mooncakes, like red beans, green beans, and egg-yolk ones. It’s like the taste of home.”

More to Discover