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Mid Autumn Festival: The Kid Friendly Guide to Mid Autumn History, Mooncakes and More

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Time to celebrate the traditions and culture of the Mid-Autumn Festival all over Singapore!

Mid-Autumn Festival is packed with kid-friendly activities making it a great holiday to celebrate with the whole family! We’ve got the lowdown on the history, the food and a couple of ideas for fun things you can do with your kids – from indulging in traditional (and not-so-traditional!) mooncakes to making your own playdough mooncakes!

A Bit of History about the Mid-Autumn Festival

Celebrated annually around September and October, Mid-Autumn Festival falls on the 15th day of the 8th month of the Chinese lunar calendar. This year it takes place on 24 September.

This Mid Autumn Festival traditionally marks the end of the autumn harvest dating back to the Tang dynasty (from around 600AD), and was a time to give thanks to the gods. The festival also commemorates the legend of Chang’Er, a selfless woman who drank the elixir of immortality to save the country from her ruthless husband and, in doing so, floated up to the moon to live forever. Legend had it that Chang’Er blesses her worshippers with beauty, so people lit lanterns in her honour (and to make sure that she could see them clearly from the sky).

Nowadays, the festival has become a time to celebrate moon, food, family and friendsSince the Mid-Autumn Festival is about lunar appreciation when the moon is said to be at its brightest, celebrations ramp up once the sun goes down.

Historically, the lanterns were made from paper and lit with candles but nowadays they tend to be plastic, battery operated (safety first right, mamas?), and come in every shape and cartoon character you can think of. Beware that some come with electronic tunes that play non-stop!

The mid-Autumn holiday is a time to be grateful for what you have, your relationships and your fortunes.

Read more: Fostering gratitude in kids

Happy Mooncake Festival, Elena! by Dingli Stevens

Read: Happy Mooncake Festival, Elena! by Dingli Stevens
This cute book is perfect for kids who want to know more about the Mooncake festival, the different types of mooncakes, and how lanterns are made. Elena talks about the Mooncake Festival with the Bunny in the moon. But is the Bunny real?

Mooncakes: the Legend

We love the pretty patterned baked mooncakes and the delicate snow skinned ones in a palette of pastel colours. The taste, hmmm that’s a love it or hate it one. Business partners and friends share gifts of mooncakes during this time. But why mooncakes? Legend has it that mooncakes helped to free Yuan China from Mongol rule. These baked treats were used by rebels to pass messages hidden inside them which culminated in a successful uprising. These days you’re more likely to find chocolate ganache or a salted egg hidden inside.

Kid Friendly Activity:
Get your kids to make mooncakes! Lots of shops sell mooncake molds in Chinatown, or try a baking shop like Bake King. Little kids will love making playdough mooncakes in lots of different colours. Don’t have playdough at home? Make your own with our easy recipe and video here.

From Green Tea, to Bird’s Nest, to SOAP! Our Fave Mooncakes for 2018

Lead image by Gardens by The Bay. Lanterns image sourced via Chinatown Festivals. Mooncake molds image sourced via YouTube.

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