The Mid-Autumn Festival (中秋节, zhōng qiū jié) is held on the fifteenth day of the eighth month in the Lunar Calendar. The holiday takes its name from the fact that it’s celebrated in the middle of autumn, when the moon is at its fullest and brightest. The holiday is also known as the “Moon Festival.” Chinese believe a full moon is a symbol of peace, prosperity, and family reunion. Therefore, the date is also commonly referred to as the “Day of Reunion” and is a time when family members gather together to celebrate the festival.
Chinese have observed the Mid-Autumn Festival for over 3,000 years, dating back to the ancient Shang Dynasty (1600–1046 BC). It has been considered such an important day that many poems were written about it, stories and legends on the festival are widespread, and generations of Chinese have speculated about its origins.
There are many legends associated with the holiday. One of the most ancient and popular legends is Cháng É Flying to the Moon. According to this legend, one day ten suns appeared at once in the sky. The Emperor ordered a famous archer, Hòu Yì to shoot down the nine extra suns. Once the task was accomplished, the Goddess of Western Heaven rewarded Hòu Yì with a pill that would make him immortal. However, his wife, Cháng É found the pill, took it, and was banished to the moon as a result. Legend says that her beauty is greatest on the day of the Moon festival.
Mooncakes (yuè bĭng) Mooncakes are the treat most closely associated with the Mid-Autumn Festival. Mooncakes are thick round pastries with a flaky crust completely surrounding a pasty filling. A wide variety of fillings are available.
Popular choices include red bean, lotus seed, mung bean, mixed nuts with ham, ice cream, and green tea. In Chinese culture, a round shape symbolizes completeness and unity, so traditionally mooncakes have been round. Modern mooncakes, however, come in a variety of shapes, with square mooncakes commonly seen. The pictures to the right show two common varieties of mooncake.
Yinghua Academy Celebration
Every staff member receives a mooncake from YACA to wish him or her a happy Mid-Autumn Festival. Students also have an opportunity to sample mooncakes in their classroom.
If you wish to purchase mooncakes, they are available locally at Keefer Court Bakery and Cafe, located on 326 Cedar Ave, Minneapolis, MN 55454 and United Noodles, located on 2015 E 24th St., Minneapolis, MN 55404.
For more information about the festival and foods:
The Mid-Autumn Moon Festival will be celebrated on Tuesday Oct. 3, 2017. All staff and students had the opportunity to sample a red bean mooncake or alternatively students may receive a piece of fruit, either pomelo or pear depending on availability or an allergy-safe treat from home. Special thanks to volunteers Helen, Melody, Angela and Vanessa.
Happy Mid-Autumn Festival! 中秋节快樂
Confucius Day and Teacher Appreciation
Confucius Day: September 28 is Confucius’s birthday, which is also observed as Teacher’s Day in China and Taiwan. In Chinese history, Confucius is a paragon of all teachers. He symbolizes the philosophy of educating all without discrimination. He never refused a student because of his class, requiring only that his students possess a desire to learn. For this reason, his birthday is also observed as Teacher’s Day in China and Taiwan.
Yinghua Academy has adopted this tradition. To honor our teachers, YACA presents each staff member and teacher with a gift. We encourage all students to give their teachers notes/cards/drawings of appreciation as well. Teachers love student-made artwork. Don’t forget our staff and specialists: Special Ed., PE, music, art, and English teachers!
To honor our teachers, YACA gave each staff member a gift on behalf of the entire school community. This year it was a customized Yinghua Academy plastic soup bowl that is freezer-safe and microwavable and an apple in the American spirit of “Give the Teacher an Apple.” The bowl will also be handy for the Hot Pot Luncheon arranged by YACA at the post-Thanksgiving Staff Professional Day to celebrate the kick-off of Chinese New Year planning.
Students were encouraged to also show appreciation to their teachers, on Thursday 28, 2017 (Grades K-4; 7-8 students and staff ) and Friday 29, 2017 (grades 5-6 students and MS retreat staff), through homemade notes, cards, or drawings. Teachers love student-made artwork including our staff and specialists: Special Ed., PE, music, art, and English teachers and office staff! Templates are available but students should feel free to make their own from scratch if they prefer. Some parents may wish to give gifts. Small gifts are fine, but not expected. It’s the thought that counts. For additional questions, please feel free to contact the YACA Cultural Chair, your Classroom Coordinator or a YACA board member.