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Celebrating Mid-Autumn Festival

21 Sep 2021

Working in a bilingual school that combines the best of east and west, teachers from the Chinese department at Huili School Hangzhou see festivals as a wonderful opportunity to integrate culture into learning for our pupils. 
We recently celebrated the Mid-Autumn Festival, one of the traditional festivals in China, by arranging an array of enriching learning opportunities during Chinese lessons. Through activities like designing their own mid-autumn lanterns, introducing festive gourmet with words and graphs, appreciating traditional poems and drawings, and creating picture books to tell festival-related myths, our pupils learned more about the festival and stretched their imagination and creativity via these hands-on experiences, which also improved their aesthetic intelligence. We selected pupils' work for an exhibition as part of our environment beautification project, which is aesthetically pleasing but also a strong drive to boost pupils’ confidence and sense of achievement.



In the primary assembly, Huili teachers and pupils celebrated the festival in their own unique ways. To learn the origin of the festival, pupils watched a video where some believe it originated from the ancient tradition in China when the emperors worshipped the Sun in spring and the Moon in autumn, while others believe it was an occasion to rejoice in bountiful harvests in autumn. Six pupils in grade 6 recited the most popular lyric on the festival named Prelude to Water Melody by the great poet Su Shi. Their learning was further extended to another popular lyric titled Dreaming of the Southern Shore, where the reputed poet Bai Juyi wrote about how he appreciated Osmanthus fragrans at a temple up on a hill under the moonlight and watching the tides of Qiantang River gaining momentum. These are the two things recommended to do specifically in Hangzhou as ways to spend the Mid-Autumn Festival. 


We chose these lyrics to present at our assembly because not only are they incredibly brilliant pieces with powerful aesthetical charms, but they were also written by poets who had experienced life in Hangzhou. Su Shi was once an administrator at Hangzhou, who was responsible for the maintenance of West Lake and later for the invention of Dongpo pork, a prominent dish in Hangzhou cuisine; while Bai Juyi was once a governor of Hangzhou, who had a legacy of classical poems, such as A Spring Trip to Qiantang Lake. In honour of these two poets, Hangzhou natives named two lanes at West Lake as Sudi causeway and Baidi causeway. We want our pupils to learn more about our traditional culture and the city we live in through poems on this special occasion.


The assembly culminated with a contest for knowledge on Mid-Autumn Festival. Twenty class representatives formed into five groups with their own passionate cheerleaders. Finally, groups A and E won the contest with a high score of 18. To conclude the assembly, two grade 6 pupils presented a duet of the song Me and My Country with their Guzheng and violin. It was a wonderful opportunity for our pupils to appreciate our profound culture and celebrate their cultural identity, a chance to boost their cultural confidence



But the festival is not all about the fascinating stories like Chang’e flying to the Moon or Wu Gang cutting the Osmanthus tree on the Moon, or the valuable opportunity for a family reunion; it is also about tasty mooncakes, relaxing holiday, and also the sense of belonging to our family, our country and our culture.


Happy Mid-Autumn Festival. We wish you a happy reunion under the beautiful full moon.