Mid-Autumn Festival

Mid_Autumn_HomeschoolCrafts

We celebrated the Mid-Autumn Festival (中秋节) last Thursday, which was the 15th day of the eighth month of the Lunar Calendar.  On this day, the moon is exceptionally round and luminous – symbolizing a family reunion and celebration.

The origin of the Mid-Autumn Festival is unclear.  There are many legends tied to the festival like, the story of Chang’e and Hou Yi, which itself has several versions.  There’s another popular legend where mooncakes were used by the Han Chinese to bring down the ruling Mongol government.

The story as told in the book, “Chinese Festivals – Celebrating the Mid-Autumn Festival” by Sanmu Tang, shares the story of Hou Yi and Chang’e.  The version goes like this: Once upon a time, there were 10 suns in the sky.  The heat of the suns caused the crops to shrivel and as a result, the villagers suffered.

Hou Yi, an excellent archer, helped the country by shooting down nine suns.  As a reward, the emperor gave Hou Yi an elixir.  One day, while Hou Yi was out hunting, his evil disciple, Pang Meng went to his house to steal the elixir.

To prevent Pang Meng from eating the elixir, Chang’e (Hou Yi’s wife) swallowed the pill.  Immediately, she floated to the moon and became an immortal.

Hou Yi was devastated to hear the news.  He placed food outside his house and looked at the moon, hoping to catch a glimpse of his wife.  This was his way of reuniting with his wife.  That is why, the Mid-Autumn Festival is an important day for families to gather together.

Here’s how we celebrated our Mid-Autumn Festival this year:

Reading stories
We read two stories relating to the Mid-Autumn Festival and discussed the origins of the festival.  The story, “Lin Yi’s Lantern” by Brenda Williams is a heartwarming tale of one boy’s selflessness.  Lin Yi was sent by his mother to the market to buy food for the festival.  Rather than buying a red rabbit lantern (which he so badly desires), Lin Yi resisted and bought peanuts for his uncle.  Eventually, his selfless act was being rewarded when his uncle shows up with a red rabbit lantern.

Eating Mooncakes
We tasted some of the mini mooncakes that Grandma (奶奶) made.  Hannah didn’t eat much mooncakes.  She doesn’t like anything sweet for that matter.

Learning a poem by Li Bai (李白) – Jing Ye Si (静夜思)
床前明月光,
疑是地上霜。
举头望明月,
低头思故乡。

Before my bed
There is bright-lit moonlight
So that it seems
Like frost on the ground:

Lifting my head
I watch the bright moon
Lowering my head
I dream that I’m home.

(Translation taken from Society for Anglo-Chinese Understanding)

Playing with lantern
Unfortunately, we didn’t get to play with lanterns on the festival night.  We played at home one evening, where we switched off all the lights and roamed around the house with our lantern.

Family dinner
It was a family affair on the festival night.  We had dinner with the grandparents, uncle, auntie and cousins.  It has been a while since the cousins met. Hannah thoroughly enjoyed herself with her cousins and wished her cousins could follow her home. LOL!

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Dawn @ Homeschool Crafts

Mom. Blogger. Homeschooler.

5 thoughts on “Mid-Autumn Festival”

    1. Hi Meg! Thanks for taking the time to drop me a line. 🙂 There are various reasons why I make it a point to include Chinese tradition in our homeschool. For one, relatives and family tend to think that homeschooling is a western approach and isn’t applicable in Asian context. It’s my way of sharing with them that homeschooling is flexible and can be tailored accordingly.

      I also see our homeschooling as a testimony to unsaved grandparents and family members. The older generation (being traditional Asians), have this misconception that Christianity robs away the rich heritage and culture we have. They have the notion, that being Christians, we don’t celebrate Chinese traditions and festivals (as it’s often tied to religious practice e.g. ancestor worship). While we are mindful not to do anything that goes against what we believe in, we have the liberty to enjoy every festival and traditions – understanding its origins and appreciating why it existed.

      Finally, I didn’t have the chance to enjoy every festival while growing up. Often, I don’t know why it existed 😛 So, now with my own little family, I try to celebrate with my daughter and husband, as I learn along the way too. 🙂

      1. What a beautiful way to share your testimony with everyone! We are very like-minded in stressing the importance of heritage and culture. It’s just so important for these kids today to understand where they came from and the WHY behind it all, don’t you think?

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