Oxford students exposed to Chinese Moon Festival

American students were introduced to Chinese customs and culture during lunch at Oxford High School on Sept. 25, as Chinese Students prepared for Mid-Autumn Festival complete with Chinese paper cutting and ‘Moon Cakes.?
According to Chunchun Tang, director of International Programs for Oxford Schools, the Mid-Autumn Festival, also known as the Moon Festival, is a time when the Chinese celebrate the harvest.
‘It also requires the worship of the full-moon on the 15 day of August in the Lunar calendar, Tang explained. ‘It usually falls on the night of the full-moon between early Sept. and early Oct. and this year it fell on September 27.?
Why is it a big deal? Tang said the Mid-Autumn Festival is not only a time to celebrate the harvest, but a time to celebrate family as well.
‘The mid-autumn festival or moon festival is considered the second most important holiday tradition after the Chinese New Year,? she added. ‘You can think of it as the Chinese equivalent of American Thanksgiving, where families get together and appreciate the harvest gift they have received from their nature, from their loved ones and so on and so forth.?
Tang noted that paper cutting is a big part of many Chinese holidays.
‘We use it as festive decorations that you would put on your windows as a decoration or ornament of good fortunate,? she said. ‘Like ornaments you put on Christmas trees.?
The moon cake, she said, was considered a delicacy for Moon festival as turkey is to the American Thanksgiving.
‘Moon cakes (are) made of dough, wrapped in red-bean paste, a lotus paste or sometimes mixed with nuts as filling,? she said. ‘Today’s moon cake is made (most often) with lotus paste.?
Tang said the student led activity was a way to allow for more intercultural exchange.
‘We wanted to hold it during lunch because we again wanted it to be a an integral part of day-to-day of Oxford High School,? she added. ‘So many of our domestic students can learn some of the traditions involved in the mid-autumn festival.?
Weiming Teacher Maggie Feng Yun said this year’s Moon festival is special to her because it’s her first year here in America as a teacher.
‘I was excited I could have a student led activity to share with all the students here and let them learn some Chinese culture and be involved,? she said. ‘Also it’s important for our Chinese students to be involved with the American students and it’s a good activity to help them build confidence.?
Oxford High School Principal Todd Dunckley said ‘it’s just one more thing in the line of things we do for all of our kids.?
‘We never want it to be about just one ethnic group or set of students,? he said. ‘You want to sprinkle in pieces of all of us to all students.?
‘I think it’s a great event as long as we keep doing what we’ve been doing, as many things that show diverse backgrounds, different foods, different forms of art. We’re going to do that as much as possible,? he continued. ‘The Chinese population is new to us in the past couple years, so it’s a little more exciting and unique, but we don’t want to do so much where we take away from the diverse skills and interests and cool things about every culture (represented at Oxford Schools).?