Is it just us or do the months seem to be flying by super quickly these days? Believe it or not, Mid-Autumn Festival is right around the corner (again!) and while we’re sad to wave goodbye to the summer holidays, we’re more than happy to welcome this heart-warming festival back with open arms! This traditional harvest festival has become more than just a celebration of the change in seasons but a time to get together with family and friends for some star-gazing, lantern-making and mooncake-munching fun. So whether the family are festival newbies or are lantern-toting pros, we’ve got you covered for the best festivities happening around Singapore.
A bit of history
Celebrated annually around September and October, Mid-Autumn Festival falls on the 15th day of the 8th month of the Chinese lunar calendar and this year it takes place on 8 September. This traditional harvest festival commemorates the legend of Chang’e. A selfless woman, she 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. Nowadays, the festival has become a time to celebrate the moon, food, family and friends.
Where to celebrate?
Being a Chinese festival, Chinatown is the main focus in Singapore, with the biggest and brightest celebrations for families. From 23 August to 28 September, thousands of hand-crafted flower-shaped lanterns will light up the streets, as Chinatown becomes a bright hive of cultural activity. Wander the festive carnival (open from 11am daily) to pick out lanterns for your little ones and tuck into traditional treats (like mooncakes!). Learn more about Chinatown’s history and culture by joining one of the Heritage Walking Trails (6 & 7 September, 2pm and 5pm). Make sure you don’t miss the nightly live shows either (from 8pm daily) or the annual community lantern walk on 6 September at 7pm. All the family, both young and old, will be mesmerised by this bright and festive hub.
From 23 August to 28 September 2014. For full details, visit www.chinatownfestivals.sg
Back for another year, Esplanade Theatre’s Moonfest is an annual celebration of culture and the arts, held during the Mid-Autumn Festival. Hosting a mix of ticketed and free events, Moonfest is a cultural smorgasbord with something for everyone. From live Beijing opera and puppet shows for kids to workshops and traditional dance troupes, this 3-day festival is a must-visit with the whole fam! Sign kiddos up for lantern making workshops (6 & 7 September) or even take part in their mama-munchkin workshops so you don’t have to feel left out! Be sure to bring little ones down to watch the live shadow puppet show, “The Cat Who Grew Fat and Other Fables” from 5 to 7 September or grab your lanterns for a moonlight lantern stroll along the waterfront on 6 September.
From 5 to 7 September 2014. For full details, visit www.moonfest.com.sg
Transforming their Sky Park into a lit-up wonderland, kiddies will absolutely love running around this gorgeous outdoor display in the evenings. With roving performers, lighted stilt-walkers, lanterns, and much more, VivoCity is definitely a must-visit with young ones and their lanterns — just don’t forget to take some snaps, mama!
From 15 August to 8 September 2014. For full details, visit www.vivocity.com.sg
Sun Yat Sen Nanyang Memorial Hall
Celebrate Mid-Autumn Festival at Wan Qing Yuan with a ton of free activities for families, like lantern riddles, Chinese arts and crafts demonstrations, and lantern-making workshops for littlies. Don’t miss the special exhibition Love and Revolution: Madam Soong Ching Ling, Wife of Dr. Sun Yat Sen where over 134 heritage objects will be on display to tell the story of Madam Soong — many for the first time in Singapore!
On 6 September 2014 from 10am to 9pm. For full details, visit www.sysnmh.org.sg
Munching on Mooncakes
Mid-Autumn Festival isn’t just about lanterns and moon gazing, mamas! Like any harvest festival, food takes centre stage, with mooncakes the traditional sweet treat at this time. Made with thick sweet pastry and filled with sweet lotus paste and salty duck egg yolk, these baked little morsels are synonymous with the Mid-Autumn Festival. Nowadays however, there is a wide range of unique flavours to choose from so even the pickiest little taste buds can enjoy these moorish bites. So, love ‘em or hate ‘em here’s the low-down on the best mooncakes in town.
- Intercontinental Singapore Classic Mooncakes – These traditional mooncakes already have a bit of a cult following with many a foodie claiming them to be some of the best in Singers. With a range of low-sugar mooncakes (made with 50% less sugar) and 100% natural ingredients, we might have found our excuse to indulge in a few more than usual. Plus, with their efficient online ordering system, Intercontinental Singapore has made purchasing simple and fuss-free.
- Carlton Hotel Red Velvet Mooncakes – Not a fan of the traditional mooncake? Fear not, mama! These sweet treats are inspired by the Carlton Hotel’s signature Red Velvet cake and is a sugary mashup with the softer “snowskin” style mooncakes, made with sweet cream cheese paste and a crunchy centre of royaltines. Delish!
- Tian Fu Tea Room Puff Pastry Mooncakes – For that extra bit of indulgence, tuck into these flaky puff pastry mooncakes from Tian Fu Tea Room. Traditionally made from Chiu Chow, these mooncakes are filled with yam paste instead of the traditional lotus seed, making it a lighter and rounder, but still equally delicious version.
- Grand Hyatt Singapore Snow Skin Mooncakes – One for the parents, this selection box of boozy mooncakes are simply divine. The Grand Hyatt’s Mezza9 have upped the ante and come out with flavours such as white lotus with rose truffle, caramel and sea salt, black sesame and yuzu, green tea and sake, Champagne truffle and more. The difficulty will be deciding who gets which flavour!
- Da Paolo Gastronomia Mooncake Crodos – One for the littlies, if the traditional mooncakes don’t tickle their fancy, these sugary pastries are sure to tempt their taste buds! From now till 8 September, pre-order with Da Paolo to get your fingers on freshly baked white lotus and golden custard Crodos, two delicious mash-ups that we can’t wait to sample.