Last week, our Lower Elementary students learned about the Mid-Autumn Festival in class. The Mid-Autumn Festival, also known by several other names including the Mooncake Festival and the Children’s Festival, is celebrated in various places around the world, but it is one of the most important holidays in China and Vietnam. It’s celebrated on the night of the full moon that occurs around harvest time, and it’s an occasion for families to spend time together and to honor the sense of unity and harmony that exists within a family.
Students read two books to get a sense of how the holiday is celebrated and to learn about its roots in mythology: Mooncakes, by Loretta Seto, and Thanking the Moon, by Grace Lin. Many students completed a Mid-Autumn Festival Word Search in order to familiarize themselves with terminology related to the holiday. Two slideshows were available to be viewed on Lower Elementary’s classroom computer: one showing photos of Mid-Autumn Festival celebrations around the world, and the other showing depictions of moon celebrations in Chinese art. Students also got a chance to see decorations that go along with the celebration of the Mid-Autumn Festival as various kinds of paper lanterns popped up in the classroom throughout the week.
On Friday, everybody got to try a taste of a mooncake for themselves! Some students tried a small piece of an authentic mooncake with a lotus-seed paste filling that was purchased from the Asian Food Market here in town (they came in a beautiful tin, which everybody also admired), while other students ate homemade, gluten-free mooncakes with an almond-butter filling. Although we did not get to make mooncakes as a class, several mooncake molds were available to be used with play-dough throughout the week so students could get a feel for how the intricate designs are pressed into the dough.