This afternoon the Downside International Committee welcomed fellow pupils and staff to celebrate the Mid-Autumn Festival in the School’s Weld Café.

The Festival, also known as the lantern or moon festival, takes place annually on the 15th day of the eighth month in the Chinese calendar. This year, that day falls on 21st September. To celebrate, families and friends gather to revel in festivities like feasting on mooncakes, decorating and playing with lanterns and moon gazing. 

Although the true origin of Mid-Autumn Festival is not known for certain, history records show that moon-worshipping practices began over 3,000 years ago in the Shang Dynasty (c. 1600-1046 BC). The festival only became an official celebration in China during the Tang Dynasty (618-907 AD) when ancient emperors of China would host a feast in celebration of the year’s harvest. After the Tang Dynasty, the Mid-Autumn Festival also became a time of the year for the emperor to reward his officials for their hard work and contributions. Over time, it evolved into a festival of many traditions: to give thanks to the moon, pray for better luck, fortune and fertility, and reunite with one’s family.

Our event included delicious mooncakes, the cutting, washing and steeping of some amazing tea, and lively music chosen by members of the Committee. There was definitely a buzz of celebration in the air!

The Downside International Committee pupil-led and runs a variety of events throughout the year to celebrate our many nationalities including Oktoberfest, Chinese New Year and the Mid-Autumn Festival. 

‘Pupils embrace the School’s diverse community with relish and energy. This is evident in the way pupils are integrated in lessons and in lively conversations at mealtimes, such as between younger pupils from differing continents.’ ISI Report