On the beautiful autumn evening of September 27, 2015, Yenching Academy's inaugural class and their teachers gathered to celebrate the Mid-Autumn Festival. Fully embracing the spirit of the traditional Chinese holiday, which stresses reunion and gathering, the Yenching Scholars enjoyed a fun-filled evening complete with games, good food, mooncakes, and unique cultural performances from their peers.
The moderator, Tian Meng, started off the evening addressing all international Yencheng Scholars with a simple introduction to the cultural customs and significance behind the Mid-Autumn Festival. Xiao Linlin, Liu Chang, Liu Xiaolin, Huang Dawei, and Fu Ruiling then performed their engaging and humorous rendition of the famous Chinese myth, Chang'e Benyue or "The Lady in the Moon."
Other Yenching Scholars also presented engaging performances. In addition to a variety of traditional Chinese instruments like the erhu, guzheng, and hulusi, these performances also featured unlikely duets between European and Chinese instruments such as the erhu and violin as well as the hulusi and the guitar. OtherSscholars performed dances and showcased their calligraphy skills. In the the spirit of the Mid-Autumn Festival, Professor Guo Fei even sang "Shuidiaogetou," a traditional song derived from a Song dynasty poem.
After the performances, the scholars and their teachers engaged in a variety of interactive games including musical chairs, pass the parcel, charades, and a friendly version of truth or dare. At the height of the evening's activities, Steven and Chen Zhengxun performed a duet version of the song "Luoyeguigen," which expresses a traveler's deep longing for home. Following their performances, the scholars celebrated all the birthdays in September, sang happy birthday, and enjoyed a delicious birthday cake.
Having started off the evening with her introduction to the Mid-Autumn Festival, Tian Meng also concluded the evening by sharing her personal journey with Yenching Academy so far. Even though she is a Chinese student, she was able to find a new sense of home at Yenching Academy in the last month.
On her new journey as a graduate student, Tian Meng said she was able to meet many talented and friendly Yenching Scholars, and was surrounded by an incredible positivity and support from her peers and mentors. She remarked on how moving it is for everyone to take time off their busy schedules and join her in this Mid-Autumn celebration. She said, "We worked very hard to prepare for this event and I feel very honored and moved by everyone's participation and support. I believe that this year will be a memorable year that we will all treasure for the rest of our lives."
As the evening's events came to a close, the Yenching Scholars and their teachers reflected on this memorable month of September and how far they have come in building Yenching Academy into a new and welcoming home. September marks a new start for the Yenching Scholars to grow closer and to support each other, and to better understand and experience China in its breadth.