Friday, September 20, 2013

Are you raising world citizens? We hope to do so, this is why we make a point of introducing our daughter to cultures and countries of the world through hands-on experiences and hands-on geography. This is what we did this year to celebrate one of the major holidays of Chinese culture – Mid Autumn Festival also known as Moon Cake Day.
Celebrating Chinese Mid Autumn Festival (Moon Cake Day)

Checking Out Community Celebrations

Dragon-Dance

I admit that we have “an unfair advantage” when it comes to raising culturally aware children. We live in Silicon Valley, which is one of the recent “melting pots” of the United States. If we check local sites for kid-friendly events in the area, we can find a variety of cultural events happening practically every week – some of them are free, and some of them have low entry costs. Last Sunday we took advantage of this local bounty and went to take part in a celebration organized by a local council of Chinese culture. It was a lot of fun – we saw a traditional lion dance, listened to erhu and guzheng, and Smarty tried to write her name in Chinese characters. She enjoyed it, but one thing was missing for her – food.

Tasting Moon Cakes

Mooncakes
I was contemplating to make our own moon cakes, but then I checked out instructions and decided to leave mooncakes to professionals. They were easy to find. I drove from work to a Chinese bakery 10 minutes away and was blown away by the varieties in the fillings for moon cakes. I chose several to try, some savory and some sweet for our own tea picnic in the moonlight on the Moon Cake Night. Smarty was very excited about the “idea” of moon cakes, but she didn’t care much for their taste, since the dough is rather thick and “heavy”. My husband and I ended up eating them for several days afterwards. Next time I will only get one or two!

Books About Mid-Autumn Festival

Mooncakes Book

Our evening tea ceremony was inspired by Mooncakes by Loretta Seto. In this book a young girl has a quiet tea ceremony outside with her parents and listens to their stories about the origin of this holiday. We liked this book best, because it pictured a single child family similar to ours and because celebration was family-focused. It also features traditional Chinese legends about the Moon.

 Thanking the Moon
Thanking the Moon by Grace Lin is lovely, but was “too young” for my “sophisticated” 6 year old. I would recommend this book for preschool age children, and it gives a great overview of what usually happens just before and during Mid-Autumn Moon Festival in Asian families and communities. In both books there are references to lantern making – a great project for this time of the year.
breath of summer. Again, this book proved to be “too young” for us, but I would highly recommend it for preschool age children.

Watching the Harvest Moon Rise

Harvest Moon
Last night was perfect for moon watching – clear sky, no wind, and relatively warm. We took tea and treats outside. The best part was just lying on the blanket, looking at the stars and listening to our daughter chattering away as she does when she is very tired. I was thinking how blessed we are to be together, with no serious worries, enjoying our life under this silver light. My whispered wish to the Moon Lady was for peace and health and many years together.

Teaching Your Kids About China?

Follow my China Pinterest board.
Follow Natalie Planet Smarty Pants's board China on Pinterest.

Your Turn

Do you do anything at home to acknowledge holidays different from your “mainstream” culture? What holidays do you celebrate?

9 comments:

Joyful Learner said...

In Korean culture, we celebrate it by eating rice cakes. We usually visit family. This year, we visited my in-laws and harvested apples and tomatoes.

Christy Killoran said...

I have never celebrated the harvest moon, but it's a fun idea! Your treats look good!

Ticia said...

Hmmmm....... None that pops into my head, but I do miss the Chinese celebrations I remember when I lived in California as a kid.

JDaniel4's Mom said...

We didn't, but I want to remember to do this next year. I think the cake look yummy. Thank you for sharing this post on Read.Explore.Learn.

Ann said...

What a nice post! We didn't see it but my husband did. Also my daughter loves Where the Mountain Meets the Moon. We will also have to check out some of your picture book picks!

Marie-Claude Leroux said...

Sounds like a really lovely Harvest moon celebration!

Marie-Claude Leroux said...

Sounds like a really lovely Harvest moon celebration!

Varya @ CWOV said...

Sounds like you had a lovely time!
I was not feeling well but my husband and older daughter went outside to look at the moon.
Did you finally have any mooncakes?
My older daughter refuses to eat them unless there is chocolate inside haha
(Varya @ CWOV)

Erica MomandKiddo said...

I wanted to get to one of the festivals in the city, but we didn't make it.