The Mid-Autumn Festival is right around the corner, so it’s the perfect time to gather the fam for some mooncakes and moon gazing! We’ve got the lowdown on the festival, its history and what’s on around Singapore for the family to enjoy. Round up the lanterns and let’s go!
Today, Mid-Autumn Festival is a big event that celebrates — among other things — harvest time, along with the biggest and brightest moon of the year. With roots tracing back as far as the Tang Dynasty (from around 600AD), you could say that it’s pretty well established in Chinese culture!
Traditionally celebrated as a Harvest Festival, people would gather to make offerings of food and drink to the Moon Goddess, Chang’e, and to give thanks for crops harvested during the year. Held on the 15th day of the 8th Month of the Chinese lunar calendar (typically in September or October – this year it takes place 19 – 22 September), the festival coincides with the full moon.
Legend has it that Chang’e blesses her worshippers with beauty, and people light lanterns in her honour so that she can see them clearly from the sky!
Chinatown is the place to be this year as 20,000 colourful lanterns are on display in the whole district! Browse the street bazaar (from 11am daily) to buy your lanterns, mooncakes, pomelos, tea and other festive goodies, or wait until the evening to bring the kids down so they can see the nightly street light-up (from 7pm). Don’t miss the evening stage shows either or the mass lantern walk on Sunday 15th of September at 7pm – there’ll be dragon dancing, stage performances, live music and even a pyrotechnics display to finish off the evening!
From 7 September to 4 October — check the website for full programme details
Celebrate the holiday at the Chinese Gardens with their annual fun filled family festival! This year’s theme is Jurassic Safari so expect to see life-sized dinosaurs roaming the grounds (might be best to keep the teeny tinies close mama!) in amongst the colourful lantern decorations. With over 20 attractions to keep families entertained each day and a range of live stage performances every evening, head here on a Saturday (8pm) or Sunday (9pm) to see the fireworks too!
From 30 August to 23 September — check the website for full details
Hosting a delightful array of traditional Chinese programmes for little ones, Moonfest is the Esplanade Theatre’s annual mid autumn festival celebration. This 3-day festival includes activities like Chinese opera, Chinese chess and lantern riddles — you’ll want to bring your smalls to join the Lantern Walkabout too (14th September, 7:45pm), where they can explore the city with their lanterns in tow!
From 13 to 15 September — check the website for full programme details
Pack up the kiddos and head to the flower dome to see the enchanting display of lanterns and flowers at Gardens by the Bay. Keep an eye out for the dragonfly lanterns hidden amongst the flora (makes for a fun hide and seek game with the kids!) before dropping past The Meadow to see the daily stage performances, to join the fun family activities or enter a competition! Until the 22nd of September there’ll also be a colourful display of handcrafted lanterns in the outdoor gardens (as well as 15% off admission tickets to the conservatory) – awesome!
From 13 to 22 September — see website for times
Image credit mattk1979
Catch a live screening of the movie, “Forbidden Kingdom” while you sip tea and chomp on mooncake samples with the fam at Downtown East lifestyle hub. There’ll also be a Lantern Parade for the kiddies (don’t forget the lanterns!) as well as live performances by the Lighted Dragon and the Wushu performers. It’s a celebration under the stars!
On 14 September only from 7pm
Celebrate the Mid-Autumn Festival at Wan Qing Yuan with a ton of free activities for families, like guided tours, lantern riddles, Chinese arts and crafts demonstrations and lantern-making workshops for littlies. Don’t miss the traditional Chinese dance performance by Marymount Convent Primary School either!
On 15 September only from 10am – 9pm
Don’t forget the Mooncakes!
Mooncakes are an important staple for the mid-autumn festival and can be bought at most major shopping centres and food stalls. Head to Takashimaya’s basement hall, Goodwood Park Hotel, Market Place by Jasons, Bakerzin, Din Tai Fung, Thye Moh Chan, Delifrance, or any good Chinese restaurant to pick up your mooncakes.
Finally, don’t miss the largest display of hand-painted lanterns in Singapore on the 15th of September, as VivoCity attempts to enter the Singapore Book of Records with their massive lantern display. Join in the fun at the amphitheatre (from 5:30pm) — there’ll also be live performances and entertainment to keep families busy!