What do you know about the Mid-Autumn Festival also called Moon Festival? Maybe you have heard about the cute little moon cakes? Maybe it is a holiday you have never heard of? Cassandra Throughton takes us on a little journey to learn more about it and offers a little Mid-Autumn Festival yoga practice to learn more with the kids.
Celebrating the Moon Festival!
Cassandra here, your Kids Yoga Stories Community Coordinator!
The other night, I had the opportunity to learn about the Moon Festival—a traditional Chinese festival—at my boyfriend parents’ place. We were sitting down having dinner when I noticed a note in the corner of their calendar that read “Moon Festival.” A Kids Yoga Stories community member recently brought this festival to my attention, so when I saw it on their calendar, it caught my eye. I thought this was my chance to learn about it!
My boyfriend, who was born in Canada but has a Chinese background, wasn’t as familiar with it when I first asked him about it. In fact, he thought it was the same thing as the Lunar (Chinese) New Year, which I can now assure you, it is not! 😛 So instead, I turned to his parents to help me discover more about the Moon Festival. I’m grateful I did, because I learned a thing or two about it. And I would love to share with you!
The Moon Festival (also called the Mid Autumn Festival) is celebrated in Chinese culture. It takes place when the moon is at its fullest and is never celebrated on the same day each year. This year, it will take place on September 10th, 2022. In Chinese culture, the roundness of the full moon represents togetherness, so it’s a time when families get together to worship the moon.
Fun Facts about the Moon Festival
- It takes place on the fifteenth day of the eighth lunar month
- Having mooncake is an essential part to the Moon Festival
- Colorful festival lanterns are lit and hung or carried
- Rabbits are a mascot of the Moon Festival and are used as decorations
5 Yoga Poses to Honor the Moon Festival
1. Extended Mountain Pose: “I am as bright as a lantern.” / Symbol: Lantern
How to practice Extended Mountain Pose: Stand tall in Mountain Pose. Inhale, look up, and raise your arms straight up to the sky. Pretend to be a lantern shining brightly and say, “I am as bright as a lantern.”
2. Crescent Moon Pose: “I shine like the moon.” / Symbol: Full Moon
How to practice Crescent Moon Pose: Standing, reach your arms up high over your head, bringing your palms together. Tilt your upper body to one side. Come back to center. Tilt your body to the other side. Pretend to be the moon and say, “I shine like the moon.”
3. Downward-Facing Dog Pose: “I am united with my family.” / Symbol: Family/Unity
How to practice Downward-Facing Dog Pose: Come down to all fours, lift your knees to an upside-down V-shape, with your buttocks up in the air. Ensure that your palms are flat on the ground and that your spine and legs are straight. Press your heels toward the ground and look back through your legs. Say, “I am united with my family.”
4. Child’s Pose (or Rabbit Pose): “I am clever like a rabbit.” / Symbol: Rabbit
How to practice Child’s Pose: Sitting on your heels, slowly bring your forehead down to rest on the floor in front of your knees. Rest your arms down alongside your body and take a few deep breaths. Pretend to be a rabbit and say, “I am clever like a rabbit.”
5. Cobbler’s Pose: “I am a mooncake.” / Symbol: Mooncake
How to practice Cobbler’s Pose: Sit on your buttocks with a tall spine, bend your legs, place the soles of your feet together. Pretend to be a delicious mooncake and say, “I am a mooncake.”
More Resources to Learn About the Moon Festival
For more information about celebrating the Moon Festival or Mid-Autumn Festival, check out these resources:
- Amanda Hsiung-Blodgett, a teacher in China, shares how people in China celebrate the Mid Autumn Festival: https://podcasts.apple.com/us/podcast/the-chinese-mid-autumn-festival-world-culture/id1467550146?i=1000456975936
- Miss Panda Chinese offers a list of children’s books for sharing the Mid-Autumn Festival with kids (from a Mandarin teacher): https://www.misspandachinese.com/childrens-books-for-celebrating-the-mid-autumn-festival/
- Children’s books from an Asian-American family https://www.chineseamericanfamily.com/best-childrens-books-about-the-mid-autumn-festival/
- Kelly’s Classroom Online has a great list of 10 books for kids to learn about the Moon Festival: https://www.kellysclassroomonline.com/2020/09/chinese-moon-festival-books.html
- Check out Bicultural Mama’s traditional mooncake recipe: https://www.biculturalmama.com/2015/09/mid-autumn-festival-moon-cake-recipe-fall-traditions.html
- For more about the lanterns used traditionally at this time of year, visit Bicultural Mama: https://www.biculturalmama.com/2019/01/chinese-lantern-festivals.html
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ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Cassandra Troughton (a.k.a. Miss T) is an educational assistant from Canada. She has worked with Edmonton Public Schools for over seven years, primarily in the special needs adaptability program (Gr. 1-6) and as the Health and Wellness lead at her school in Edmonton, Alberta. Her passions include health, wellness, and the practice of mindfulness! She loves passing on her knowledge of mindfulness to her students and fellow educators. You can find her at https://mindfulmisst.com/. She is currently the Community Coordinator of Kids Yoga Stories.