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Mandarin and Mooncakes
World language students share mooncakes
and Mandarin studies at Saxe Middle School
Saxe Middle School 7th graders celebrated the Harvest Moon Festival during their Mandarin class.
World language middle schoolers studying Mandarin at Saxe Middle School celebrated a Chinese cultural festival in their classrooms with a special treat last week. The Mid-Autumn Festival, also known as the Moon Festival and the Harvest Moon Festival, is one of the three major festivals of the Chinese culture, and the New Canaan Public Schools Mandarin language teachers Hai-Ming Wu and Hsuan-Hui Smith led their students in observing this special holiday by making mooncakes in their classes.
The Mid-Autumn Festival traditionally falls within the eighth month on the Lunar calendar during a day with a full moon. This year’s celebrations officially began on Friday, September 13, and took place across East Asia, in countries including China, Taiwan, Japan, Singapore, South Korea, Malaysia, Vietnam and the Philippines, as well as at Saxe Middle School.
“The festival is similar to Thanksgiving in the U.S., in that families get together to celebrate a harvest,” explained Mandarin teacher Hsuan-Hui Smith. “One of the most common ways to celebrate is by eating mooncakes. People will also give mooncakes to family members and colleagues.”
Saxe students and staff were treated to this tradition not only by learning the history of the festival but also with the “hands-on” experience of making mooncakes, culminating with each student sampling and enjoying their pastry creations. Mandarin teachers also invited the entire Saxe staff to participate in this celebration as well, reflecting the true intentions of the festival.
“The moon cake is a symbol of the full moon and families being together,” added Mandarin teacher Hai-Ming Wu. Mandarin joins three other world languages being taught in the district - Latin, Spanish, and French.
“Our students are extremely hard working,” said Lizette D’Amico, World Language and ELL Administrator, “and their proficiency in world language studies exemplifies the enthusiasm and eagerness to learn that they bring to their classrooms every day.”