Jen Boudevin

Cal Poly’s University Union Plaza will be illuminated with the light of the 12th annual Lantern Festival on Saturday from 5 to 9 p.m.

The festival is celebrated traditionally in Chinese and Vietnamese cultures to honor the beauty of the moon, and has been coordinated by the Chi Delta Theta Sorority, the Omega Xi Delta Fraternity and Associated Students, Inc.

“The focus of this event is to spread awareness of Asian cultures and heritage throughout Cal Poly and the surrounding Central Coast communities,” said Chi Delta Theta member and alumna Holly Phan in a press release. “By sharing our cultural diversity, the sisters of Chi Delta Theta and the brothers of Omega Xi Delta hope to educate and entertain everyone who attends and participates.”

The festival features live performances, including a traditional Chinese lion dance, Polynesian dancing, Taiko Drumming, Filipino and Indian cultural dances, modern hip-hop and step dance routines as well as singing groups. Cal Poly clubs will also be on hand selling Asian food and drink.

This year’s event observes a “Legends of the Moon” theme.

“We chose the theme because many of the Asian cultures either have their own legend or myth about the moon and/or celebrate a moon festival,” Lantern Festival co-chair Aaron Wong said. “This year the Lantern Festival staff has created posters toward the theme for event-goers to read and learn about other countries, and each club has been asked to decorate their booth in accordance with the theme.”

The festival promises to be “packed,” said event co-chair and Chi Delta Theta member Michelle Masuda.

“I’m really excited that we have the biggest turn out of clubs to participate (this year),” she said. “Almost every Asian club is coming out and our performance schedule is non-stop.”

The event originated at Cal Poly in 1995, when the Omega Xi Delta Fraternity and Chi Delta Theta Sorority came together in recognizing a lack of cultural events and diversity in the San Luis Obispo community.

“The first annual Lantern Festival was held on April 1, 1995 as the keystone and kick-off for Cal Poly’s first observance of Asian Awareness Month,” Wong said.

“This event was the first of its kind for the Cal Poly campus,” he said, “bringing together all the Asian organizations on campus to promote Asian awareness.”

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