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The Mid-Autumn Festival is a celebration of bountiful harvests, so reap your own harvest of knowledge with our guide
When the Mid-Autumn Festival rolls in Singapore, two things come alive: colourful lanterns and scrumptious mooncakes. Also known as the Moon Festival, this cultural affair in the Chinese calendar marks the end of the autumn harvest. It traditionally falls on the fifteenth day of the eighth month of the lunar calendar when the moon is the fullest and brightest – or so lunar legends have it. This year, it falls on October 1. Get the full lowdown on the festival that has been celebrated since the early Tang dynastywith our guide.
Photo: David Dibert/Unsplash
There are various myths and legends that surround the festival’s genesis. One dates back to the story of the wife of a merciless king, Chang E, who drained her husband’s elixir of immortality to save the people from his tyrannical rule before making her way to the moon. Others include Chinese emperors in the Zhou dynasty (1045-221 BC) obsessively worshipping the moon in the hopes of producing a bumper crop in the following year.
Photo: Huong He/Unsplash
Families usually gather to indulge in the sweet treats – either baked or steamed – best paired with hot tea. Most mooncakes are filled with salted egg yolk as the yolk is said to represent the full moon and their round shape symbolises reunion. Legend also has it that they were used to carry secret messages from the Han Chinese to overthrow the Mongolian rulers.
Other varieties of the mooncake include the non-baked snow skin mooncake which comes with various flavours from chocolate to durian. They are also packed in gorgeous gift boxes to present to friends and families.
The party don’t start ‘till the moon walks in. Come night time, lanterns of all sizes and shapes are illuminated to complement the surroundings, hyping up the Mid-Autumn spirit and used for moon gazing. Get a taste of it at places like Chinatown and Gardens by the Bay where your nights are bound to be extra lit. The celebration is also amped up with lantern parades, dragon dances, and traditional Chinese performances.
Photograph: Seoul Tourism Organization
Things to do Gardens by the Bay, Marina BaySep 18 2020-Oct 4 2020
You know the autumn festivities are in full swing when colourful lanterns around the city shine brighter than ever. As the sun goes down, witness about 2,000 hand-painted lanterns light up at the outdoor grounds of Gardens by the Bay. The festivities continue online with a series of virtual programmes, in place of the annual live performances and activities that take place at the Gardens.
Photograph: Lee Jia Wen
Things to do Singapore City, Raffles Place Sep 25 2020-Oct 4 2020
Experience traditional Chinese arts including xiqu, dance, folk songs, puppetry, and poetry, all streamed live from the Esplanade Concourse and are available to watch on Esplanade Offstage and Huayi’s Facebook page. And what's Moonfest without its signature Lantern Walkabout? While there won't be a physical one, the festival continues with a special virtual edition where you can virtually stroll along the Esplanade Waterfront and soak up the scenic view of Marina Bay and the Singapore skyline without having to squeeze through the crowd. Along the way, play interactive games, catch snippets of performances, and look out for the virtual fireworks too.
Photograph: Sun Yat Sen Nanyang Memorial Hall
Things to do Festivals Singapore City, Raffles PlaceUntil Oct 11 2020
When it comes to the mid-autumn festival, three things come to mind: mooncakes, lanterns, and the full moon. Get into the festive spirit with the digital edition of the Wan Qing Mid-Autumn Festival, which embraces Sun Yat Sen Nanyang Memorial Hall's (SYSNMH) Facebook page from September 14. Gather the fam for online cooking classes, storytelling sessions, interactive craft demonstrations, and more. If you plan to head out, SYSNMH’s thematic lantern installation titled Rolling in Abundance makes a great photo-moment under the stars.
Photograph: Chinatown Festivals
Things to do Singapore City, Raffles Place Until Oct 31 2020
Every year, Chinatown transforms into a brightly-lit spectacle to welcome the Mid-Autumn festivities. But this year, things are slightly different. While it continues to illuminate its giant street lanterns, its signature programmes – think performances, games and workshops – are moved online for the first time. Tune into its Facebook Live on September 17 for the light-up and opening ceremony, and delight in the dazzling lanterns from the comfort of your couch. Mark your calendar for other activities too including a lantern-painting workshop, an edutainment session, and an online escape room challenge.
Photograph: Steven Wilcox/Unsplash
Things to do Singapore City, Raffles Place Sep 19 2020
Got what it takes to take on the online escape room challenge? Gather five of your best brains (you won't need brawns for this) and test your smarts in this virtual game organised by the folks behind Chinatown Festivals as part of the Mid-Autumn Festival celebrations. As a team, you'll need to solve five themed puzzles and crack the code in your respective breakout rooms. You'll have to beat the
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