Westridge Middle Schoolers Research Mid-Autumn Festival Traditions in Mandarin Chinese Class
In Westridge School’s 8th grade Mandarin, students are learning about the customs of one of the largest festivals in the world—the Mid-Autumn (or Moon) Festival. The Mid-Autumn Festival, which took place this year on September 10, is a traditional festival celebrating the harvest season and the full moon (a symbol of peace, prosperity, and family reunion in Chinese culture). It is observed in China and many other countries in East and Southeast Asia.
“The Mid-Autumn Festival is about the reunion of family,” said Mandarin Teacher Lily Shang. “There’s a famous Chinese poem about how no matter where you are in the world, you are still all under the same moon. This festival is a time for families to gather together to eat and celebrate with each other.”
Shang assigned each student a topic to research, such as the legends of the festival’s origin, mooncakes and other festival foods eaten in various regions, art and poems connected to the festival, traditions in Chinese and other cultures, and more. Each student is creating their own poster about their topic, which also must contain four vocabulary words with Chinese characters and Pinyin (the system to transcribe Mandarin Chinese sounds into the Latin alphabet). The posters are written in both English and Chinese, and once completed they will be displayed on the walls in the Mudd building for the community to read. One student, whose poster topic was to research Mid-Autumn Festival traditions in other cultures, even wrote part of her poster in Hangul (the Korean alphabet) in acknowledgement of the Chuseok holiday in Korea.
“I love how creative they get with this project,” said Shang. “These eighth graders already know a lot about the festival from their Mandarin class last year, but this project has them go a little deeper into some of the traditions in Chinese culture and in cultures around the world.”
Click here to watch a video on the Mid-Autumn Festival origins and the legend of Chang’e, the Chinese goddess of the moon.
Westridge School, 324 Madeline Drive, Pasadena, (626) 799-1053 ext. 200 or visit www.westridge.org.