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Last week on the 21st of September, Pistachio Mandarin celebrated the Mid Autumn Festival in conjunction with our last class of Term 3.
In China, Mid-Autumn Festival is the second most important festival after Chinese New Year. The moon festival was celebrated as the ancient Chinese emperors worshiped the moon to pray for the harvest, good weather, and peace for their country. It was first established as a holiday in the Song Dynasty (960-1279) but is believed that Mid-Autumn Festival originated from the custom of worshiping the moon back in Zhou dynasty over 3000 years ago. Because the harvest is linked to the moon cycle, the festival takes place when the moon is at its fullest. This year, this festival took place on the 13th of September. On the lunar calendar, the Mid-Autumn festival takes place on the 15th of August each year. People celebrate by gathering with families, making paper lanterns and eating mooncakes. The making and the sharing of the mooncake symbolizes completeness and reunion due to its round shape. It is also said that mooncakes were used during the Yuan dynasty as a vessel for dispersing secret notes, helping the Han Chinese overthrow their Mongolian rulers. Mooncakes are usually eaten after dinner while admiring the moon.
We invited our parents to join us to celebrate the occasion and our we had activities ranging from storytelling of the legend of Chang E and Hou Yi (click here for video), and learning how to make moon cake (click here for link). The students were taught how to greet their guests by saying "Zhōngqiū jié kuàilè!" ( Happy Mid-Autumn Festival ) .
Afterwards, we had a shared morning tea, which included moon cake ( 月饼 yuèbǐng ). Mooncake is considered the main "must-eat" food for the Mid-Autumn festival. It is a Chinese dessert made up of a variety of fillings. One popular filling is the egg yolk, which represents the moon, due to its shape.
Everyone had a great time celebrating this traditional Chinese festival together, and we can't wait for the next major festival coming up. The Dōngzhì Festival or the Winter Solstice Festival which will take place on the 22nd of December is widely celebrated in China, Japan and Korea to celebrate the Winter Solstice.
See below for some photos of Pistachio Mandarin's celebration of the Mid-Autumn Festival!