The second most important Chinese festival, Zhong Qiu Jie (中秋節), or the Mid-Autumn Festival, takes place on or close to the time of the autumn equinox. This year Wesley celebrated this day, also known as the Moon Festival or Mooncake Festival, on September 21.
As a bilingual school, it's not only important that our students receive daily Chinese instruction from state-certified Mandarin teachers. Language is one part of the program but we are also committed to cultural knowledge and global perspective. They enjoyed tasting moon cakes and learning about the history and traditions of the Pan-Asian holiday, celebrated not only in China today but in many other parts of the world.
The festival falls at the time of the "Harvest Moon," when the moon appears at its fullest. The image of the moon symbolizes a happy family reunion. The festival became an official celebration in China during the Tang Dynasty (618-907 CE) as a time for emperors to celebrate the year's harvest by giving offerings to the moon and hosting a feast.
Today it is an important family gathering, like Thanksgiving for those in the United States. It is celebrated by gathering for dinner, lighting paper lanterns, and eating mooncakes. There are many varieties of mooncakes, but they generally are made of thick pastry shell around a filling and/or salted egg yolks.