This coming Monday, (9/8/14) how would you like to celebrate nature with a picnic under the moon? I know I would!!! Monday is not only the full moon, it is the day of the Asian Moon Festival, also called the Mid-Autumn Festival.
Under the bright full moon friends and families gather to share food and stories of the Moon Fairy who lives in a crystal palace on the surface of the moon and comes out that night to dance on the moon’s shadow surface. The ancient legend of the lady living in the moon tells of ” a day when ten suns appeared at once in the sky. The Emperor ordered a famous archer to shoot down the nine extra suns. Once the task was accomplished, Goddess of Western Heaven rewarded the archer with a pill that would make him immortal. However, his wife found the pill, took it, and was banished to the moon as a result. Legend says that her beauty is greatest on the day of the Moon festival.”
The Moon fairy bringing you mooncakes (Photo credit:onepiecetravel.com)
There are popular legends that set this day as the most popular marriage date in China and the more historical legends about hiding plans for a rebellion from the Mongols in mooncakes, but the one about the moon fairy sparks way more nature wonder than those others! In North America the September full moon is also named after the harvest celebrations and called the Harvest Moon or Corn Moon because it is when the corn was harvested.
Lychee is a deliciously floral fruit and one of my all time favorites! (Photo credit: lovingthemes.com)
I asked my good friend from Hong Kong how her family celebrates the Moon Festival (or Mid-autumn festival as they actually call it) and she said they join with close friends and all go to the beach for a big picnic under the moon! How fun does that sound? They bring fresh fruits like pomello and starfruit, sweet taro, and of course moon cakes to share in the moonlight!
Mooncakes are as pretty as the moon itself! (photo credit: sacredzodiac.blogspot.com)
Plan a Moon Festival Picnic
Let this be an easy and spontaneous event! And remember what Rachel Carson taught us, a few lost hours of sleep (or academic time) in childhood to enjoy the magic and wonder of nature is well worth it in the long run of children and nature connections. Let the kids stay up to see the moon on the school night!
Find out what time the moon is rising and invite your friends and family to join you Monday night for a moon gazing picnic, an hour before the rise, in a spot where you can see the moon rise clearly.
Earlier in the day have your children, or students, help create a fresh fruit salad from all your most favorite seasonal fruits. You may also want to add some asian varieties like lychee (my favorite Asian fruit).
Bake or buy mooncakes
Bring something fun to drink like sparkling fruit juice or coconut water. Or, try unique Asian drinks like basil seed drink or boba tea!
Then have a great time sharing stories about the wonder of the moon while enjoying the moon’s glow and each others company!
Or to celebrate in school – darken the room and use a projector to project and image of the full moon on the wall. Move away tables and desks and sit on the floor on picnic blankets. Read a story about the Asian Moon Festival while you enjoy the fruit and mooncake snack. Invite Asian families to come and share stories about Moon Festival celebrations from their childhood.
What do you love about the full moon?
Share your moon stories below in the comments!
Share pics of your Moon Picnic on Instagram #wingswormsandwonder
Seeds to Sprout:
Bake your own mooncake recipe (I’d substitute non-hydrogenated shortening for the lard, but that’s just me.)
Children’s Moon Festival book suggestions: Lin Yi’s Lantern: A Moon Festival Tale by Brenda Williams, The Moon Lady by Amy Tan, Moon Festival by Ching Yeung Russel, Thanking the Moon: A Mid-Autumn Moon Festival by Grace Lin, and Round is a Mooncake by Grace Lin Fin them on IndieBound or better yet at your local indie bookstore!
Learn more about the September harvest moon and why it shines so bright. The Shine On, Harvest Moon Farmer’s Almanac post knows!
Find out what time the September full moon will rise in your area.
These cakes look like a moon fairy delivered them! (Photo credit: www.anncoojournal.com)