September 30, 2012 of the Gregorian calendar marks the Mid-autumn Festival, when families and friends will gather to celebrate and appreciate the autumn moon. It's also the time of year when bakeries — from Chinatown to Hanoi and Jakarta — stock their shelves with a traditional and tasty delicacy: the mooncake. The video above looks at the evolution of this most popular treat.
This video is part of a new Asia Society project, China and Globalization, which aims to help American students learn Chinese through the lens of China and globalization — the interconnectedness of the world in both ancient and modern times. When I was in middle school studying Chinese, our textbooks featured already dated vocabulary, like "comrade" and "red scarf girl," indicative of policy and social norms from at least a generation prior. It wasn't my teacher's fault; there was simply a dearth of Chinese teaching and learning materials.
In the new Asia Society curriculum, students learn how to talk about globalization through words like "online" and "international trade," and classrooms are encouraged to make full use of current events, social media, art, and other primary sources which are far more representative of contemporary culture. Our hope is that these language lessons, combined with cultural and historical content, will lead to skills truly useful in a 21st century workplace.
Enjoy your mooncakes this weekend, and check out Asia Society's latest project.