Chinese Language Week is a great way to salute Aotearoa’s vibrant cultures! Seta Zeng shared her culture with her classmates - talking about the Mid-Autumn Festival’s history, sharing an ancient Chinese poem and showcasing a beautiful Han costume. Her ESOL Intensive class in Palmerston North appreciated the wonderful English she's learned too.
“We celebrated the Mid-Autumn Festival on 21 September this year. Mid-Autumn Festival is an important festival, on that day people get together for dinner and worship the moon.
“In class, I introduced the festival and Han Fu, a Chinese traditional costume. Han Fu is the costume of the Han people from many hundreds of years ago. It's popular to wear during traditional festival.
“The classmates were very interested in Han Fu and tried it on. The style of this dress is from the Ming Dynasty which was the ruling dynasty of China from 1368-1644. They were curious about the clothes from hundreds of years ago and said it looked beautiful.”
“Moon Cakes are a kind of traditional food for Mid-Autumn Festival. Different places have different flavours of moon cakes. We ate Cantonese Moon Cakes in class, it was sweet. But other places have salty flavours.
Thank you so much Seta Zeng for your incredible contribution!
A poem written by Su Shi in 1076 during the Mid-Autumn festival. The poem was based around the moon and his feelings that he hadn't seen his younger brother Su Zhe for seven long years. Then using the Mid-autumn full moon, he gathered his thoughts about human feelings on separation, reunion, happiness, and misery and trying to understand that in the pursuit of life, philosophically.
It expresses his longing to see his relatives and wishing them well, while also taking on his chin and optimism in life when he faced obstacles in his career "he was demoted and exiled twice by the emperor to some remote places, including Hainan Island".
许渊冲先生译作 (Translated by Yuan Chong Xu)
How long will the full moon appear?
Winecup in hand, I ask the sky.
I do not know what time of the year
’Twould be tonight in the palace on high.
Riding the wind, there I would fly,
Yet I’m afraid the crystalline palace would be
Too high and cold for me.
I rise and dance, with my shadow I play.
On high as on earth, would it be as gay?
The moon goes round the mansions red
Through gauze-draped window soft to shed
Her light upon the sleepless bed.
Why then when people part, is the oft full and bright?
Men have sorrow and joy; they part or meet again;
The moon is bright or dim and she may wax or wane.
There has been nothing perfect since the olden days.
Solet us wish that man
Will live long as he can!
Though miles apart, we’ll share the beauty she displays.
林语堂先生译作 (Translated by Yutang Lin)
How rare the moon, so round and clear!
With cup in hand, I ask of the blue sky,
"I do not know in the celestial sphere
What name this festive night goes by?"
I want to fly home, riding the air,
But fear the ethereal cold up there,
The jade and crystal mansions are so high!
Dancing to my shadow,
I feel no longer the mortal tie.
She rounds the vermilion tower,
Stoops to silk-pad doors,
Shines on those who sleepless lie.
Why does she, bearing us no grudge,
Shine upon our parting, reunion deny?
But rare is perfect happiness--
The moon does wax, the moon does wane,
And so men meet and say goodbye.
I only pray our life be long,
And our souls together heavenward fly!