The Mooncake Festival in ISM


Writer: Keitaro H.

Visual: Kiana H.

Editor:​ Gisele F.

On Friday, September 13, Chinese communities across the globe celebrated a festival that has become synonymous with a round and sweet treat known as a mooncake. More formally known as the Mid Autumn Festival, The Mooncake Festival is celebrated on the 15th day – a full moon day – of the 8th month of the Chinese Lunar calendar.  The annual festival was thought to have begun 3,000 years ago in the Shang Dynasty. Emperors worshipped the full moon, believing that it brought an abundant harvest, as the celebrations marked the end of the autumn harvest. Nowadays, however, the celebration is seen as a time for family reunions and as a source of good luck and happiness. 

During the festival, there are many exciting activities to take part in. Some common festivities that happen throughout the day are gathering with friends and family, observing and appreciating the full moon, watching lion and dragon dances, displaying candle lit lanterns, and sharing mooncakes. 

Luckily for ISM students, the Chinese Honor Society (CHS) brought the joys of the Mooncake Festival to school. On Friday, several cultural aspects of the festival were offered throughout the day and into the evening. During lunch, there was a mooncake bake sale, where everyone was able to enjoy the Chinese delicacy. Later on in the day, in collaboration with Astronomy club, CHS hosted a full moon watching event and played a fun movie on the MS field. CHS President Lorenzo Y. commented on the significance of bringing an essential part of Chinese culture to ISM, ”This is the first year that the Mooncake Festival is celebrated in ISM and it’s always good to expose the ISM community to more Chinese culture.”

Sophomore Stone W., also expressed his fascination with the cultural festival, as he said that ”mooncakes are really delicious and are always a great treat.” Furthermore, he expressed his gratitude towards CHS for bringing an essential part of his culture to ISM. When asked about his previous mooncake festival experiences, Stone exclaimed “the moon is always full, and bright! In general, it’s always a great day to spend with my family.” Students aren’t the only ones with fond memories of this festival. Mr Aitken, an ISM history teacher who has lived in China for 8 years, fondly remembers his time celebrating the mooncake festival.  He enjoyed “lighting lanterns and eating mooncakes, especially the ones with pineapples inside. It was always a very fun experience with many things to do with my friends.” 

The ISM community consists of numerous nationalities and cultures that encompass the globe. 

As an international family, embracing the Friday festivities was a great opportunity to learn and enjoy the 3000-year-old celebration deeply rooted in Chinese culture.