On a crisp Friday evening in early fall, the Willows Campus of Silicon Valley International School (INTL) was filled with stories, music, movement, and light. INTL families from all three language programs gathered on the school’s Willows Campus to celebrate the beloved PTA Moon Festival. Families gathered as the sun began to set, eating picnic dinners that they’d brought themselves or delicious bento boxes they’d ordered through the PTA.
Also called Mid-Autumn Festival, the Moon Festival is celebrated on the 15th day of the eighth lunar month in the Chinese calendar. Traditionally, families gather together to enjoy dinner and mooncakes, and appreciate the bright full moon in the night sky.
The evening’s program began with an introduction by PTA President, Erich Sonnberger, to set the mood. Ya-Ching Chang, Chinese Academic Dean, orchestrated a wonderful program complete with traditional musical performances and presentations from students and faculty for the evening.
Ethan J. (8th Grade) explained about the upcoming Hulusi performance by Angela Wu, INTL Chinese Program Elementary and Middle School Music Teacher. The Hulusi is a woodwind instrument of the Dai and Yi ethnic groups of Yunnan province, China. It was first created in 1958 and is also known as the “gourd flute” because of its unique shape. Farmers often play this instrument during breaks from field labor. Angela played the song Bamboo Reeds under the Moonlight while everyone got together with their beloved families and friends.
Following this spellbinding performance, Tanith T. (11th Grade) introduced the next performance. INTL 5th Grade Chinese Program Students sang 水調歌頭, Shuidiao Getou - Water Melody, a classical piece from the Song Dynasty. The students had studied literacy forms from the Song dynasty and inquired into the perspectives from Su Shi, the poet, and how it is connected to Chinese culture. Su Shi’s Shuidiao Getou provides images of high jade terraces, night sky and moonlight, and ends with a profound statement on people gathering together to enjoy the beauty of the moon. In modern times, Shuidiao Getou is the tune for many popular songs.
The next part of the program was Tyler M. (8th Grade) sharing the story of the Jade Rabbit in Chinese and English. According to legend, three gods posed as poor elders to test animals to find one worthy of being a companion to the moon goddess Chang'e. Only the compassionate rabbit was willing to sacrifice themself and earned a place on the moon with Chang'e to assist in making the elixir of immortality,
The story served as a wonderful lead into the final piece of entertainment for the night, an adorable dance sequence by the Early Years students. The Preschool and Prekindergarten children demonstrated a delightful dance to 兔子跳跳跳, Bunny Hop Hop Hop.
To finish the celebration, the attending children followed Erich on a parade of lanterns around the park next to the campus. The lanterns lit the night sky with the hope of bringing prosperity throughout the year. The PTA Moon Festival is a lovely example of INTL’s international and cross-cultural education, as students from all of INTL’s language programs benefit from exposure to Chinese, French, and German cultural events.