By Jordan Geisler —

Lights and decorations were all around the Red Barn for its first ever celebration of the Moon Festival Sept. 12. The holiday is celebrated in eastern Asian countries during the eighth lunar month to give thanks for the harvest, as well as to celebrate fellowship and family.

Other than the Chinese New Year festival, U of L doesn’t have a lot of events recognizing the eastern Asian population on campus. Taleah Gipson, chair of the student activity board’s diversity committee, took it upon herself to change that.

“I wanted to bring the Moon Festival to U of L’s campus because there isn’t a lot of East Asian representation on campus. I wanted to throw an event that celebrates people and also brings them together,” she said.

Gipson worked with other groups on campus including the Vietnamese Student Association, the Chinese Scholars Union, the Japan Club and the Chinese Club. Together they created an event that brought people together.

Students could learn how to write Japanese and Chinese calligraphy and there was a station for painting your own paper lantern. There was even moon cake, a traditional dessert eaten during the Moon Festival.

The Moon Festival also had several performances from local groups and students on campus. There was an extreme Chinese yo-yo act, a martial arts session and a dance from U of L’s own Cardinal K-Pop dance team. Attendees also enjoyed a recital involving the Chinese instrument the Erhu, some traditional Chinese dances and a festive lion dance featuring the River Lotus Lion Dance Team.

“My inspiration is to make everyone feel welcome and make them feel that they’re seen,” Gipson said.

Mariko Chou, a junior majoring in social work, is a member of the Vietnamese Student Association. She came to the Moon Festival and felt represented.

“I really love going to student events,” said Chou, “and I think it’s really cool that we’re getting our names out there because a lot of students don’t know about our clubs or cultures as much as others.”

Photo by Jordan Geisler / The Louisville Cardinal