The Mid-Autumn, or Moon Festival, is one of the largest celebrations in the Chinese calendar, and with 41 Chinese boys in school, we are lucky enough to be able to learn from those who have experienced it first-hand and celebrate this happy occasion as whole school.
The festival falls on the fifteenth day of the eighth month of the lunar calendar when the moon is at its fullest and brightest, coinciding with the harvest time in the middle of autumn. This year it fell on Tuesday 21 September.
A full moon in Chinese culture symbolises reunion and prosperity, a time when friends and family unite and celebrate the sheer joy of being together. For our Chinese boarders living over 5,000 miles from home, and especially our new boarders who would be experiencing the festival for the first time without their family, it was important to come together as a ‘school family’.
The day started with a whole school assembly delivered by Lower Sixth Former Gideon Chan, who, after giving an interesting talk about China’s one-child policy, spoke about the Moon Festival and how it is traditionally celebrated.
Gideon explained that Mooncake is an important part of the celebrations because in Chinese culture, a round shape symbolizes completeness and reunion. The sharing of round mooncakes among family members during the festival signifies the completeness and unity of families.
Gideon also acknowledged that our Chinese boys would miss their families and mooncakes, and so invited them, and all boys, to join the Chinese Society that day to celebrate together.
Our boarding houses were also keen to join the celebrations and enjoyed authentic Chinese food followed by all-important mooncakes for dinner, moon gazing and an evening sharing past Moon Festival experiences with each other.
Not forgetting our Chinese parents who miss their sons during this time, some of our teachers recorded Moon Festival wishes in their best Mandarin, and using WeChat, the main social media platform in China, were able to send these messages to them on the day.