The Mid-Autumn Festival is a tradition celebrated in mainland China, Taiwan, Hong Kong, Macau, and Vietnam, as well as similar holidays in Japan, Korea, and throughout Southeast Asia. The festival is marked with mooncakes resembling the Harvest Moon, expressing love and good wishes to family and friends, and lanterns whose light symbolizes prosperity and good fortune.
The seventh-grade Mandarin class learned about the Mid-Autumn Festival, and related vocabulary words, studying the meaning of each word by conducting group research. They then made informative posters to share knowledge of the festival’s origins and traditions with the Lower School assembly. Two Upper School students were also invited to talk about their favorite mooncakes, and what eating mooncakes means for them as a native speaker. Students were given Lotus seeds and egg yolk mooncakes as gifts for each grade level, wishing everyone good fortune!
The Upper School Asian Student Association hosted a Moon Festival Celebration for fellow students at assembly, offering heartfelt stories of traditions shared at home, and also offered students mooncakes to share the tradition with the SD community. As well, the ASA produced a video, showcasing students making mooncakes in Mercedes Hall in the dorms to celebrate! We extend our gratitude to the members of the ASA for a wonderful celebration: Scoot Wang (President), Tanya Yeung (Vice President), Cici Lin, and Bell Sun. We also thank K-12 Mandarin teacher Shu-Chen Lin and Upper School Mandarin teacher Shirley Li for their help in coordinating efforts for the celebrations School-wide, and our wonderful seventh-grade Mandarin students!
Below is the student-produced script of the presentation the Seventh Graders made to Lower and Middle School students:
“Nǐ hǎo. We are the Seventh Graders in Mandarin and we will tell you all about the Chinese Moon Festival also known as Zhōng qiú qié.
In Mandarin, Chinese people are called Zhōng guó rén or 中国人. Many Chinese people celebrate the lunar festival or zhōng quí jiě.
Nongli 农历 translates to the lunar calendar. A lunar calendar is made from observations on the moon, originating in Chinese culture. It is significant because, in ancient history the harvest moon festival was used to pray for the harvest. Since the harvest is tied to the moon cycle, the mid autumn festival is meant to happen on a full moon. It is called the mid-autumn festival because autumn is the harvest season, which consists of July, August, and September.
A mooncake, yuè bǐng 月饼, is a pastry that is eaten during the mid-autumn festival. Mooncakes represent the full moon, which also symbolizes family reunion. They are decorated with Chinese characters and symbols, sometimes even flowers, vines or animal designs! Mooncakes can be sweet, salty, and spicy. They can be filled with prunes, nuts, red bean paste, rose, lotus seed paste, dried meat, black sesames, ham, and much more. The crust is crispy and airy. Mooncakes have a thick, pastry skin with a dense filling. it may contain one or more salted egg yolks that are in the center. The yoke symbolizes the full moon and means reunion.
Mid-Autumn Festival is a traditional Chinese festival held in appreciation of the moon. Families go to watch the moon as it enters its full moon phase. Moon appreciation (赏月, Shǎng yuè) is the most important activity of the 中秋节, Zhōng qiú jié (Mid-Autumn festival). Watching the full moon symbolizes family reunion,团圆.
In Chinese mythology there were 10 suns. Hou Yi shot down nine suns so now we only have one sun. After he shot them down they turned into three-legged ravens. People take this day to remember the great hero who brought them good harvesting and farming.
On the day of the moon festival people like to celebrate by Hē Chá 喝茶, which means “drink tea” in mandarin. The Moon festival is elegant and always accompanied with tea. The types of teas consumed differ in each region and personal preference. People drink tea underneath the moonlight while appreciating the round moon. Some of the types of tea that are drunk are oolong tea, black tea, and green tea.
中 秋 节 快 乐 - I’m wishing you a long life to share the graceful moonlight.