Where to Celebrate the Mid-Autumn Festival in Singapore
Traditionally a time to give thanks to the Gods in China, Mid-Autumn festival marked the end of the Autumn harvest. It is also the time where the moon shines brightest, which is why the festival also dedicates itself to lunar appreciation. Many legendary Lunar myths are celebrated during this time. One of the most famous legends is the story of Chang Er, the wife of a merciless King who took the bottle of immortality from him and drank it herself so that she could save her people from him. It is said that after drinking the concoction, she ascended to the moon, and has lived there ever since.
As the festival is all about our moon, a lot of the festivities begin at night. Moon-viewing parties where people light lanterns and raise them to the sky are a popular way to celebrate, and many people make very whimsical and elaborate lanterns just for the occasion!
Mooncakes are also distributed. The original and traditional type is a baked pastry filled with lotus seed paste or red bean paste with a sweet “yolk” paste. Today, however, we can find many different kinds such as ice-cream and mochi variations. The most popular alternative is the “snowskin”, which is made of glutinous rice crust, and filled with lotus seed paste with a truffled chocolate inside. This newer variation is meant to be kept cold, and is seen as a lighter and less fattening alternative to the traditional baked mooncake.
So now you know about the festival, but where can we celebrate it?
Of course you can soak in the joyous atmosphere at the heart of Chinatown! Aside from the annual impressive lantern display, visitors to Chinatown can look forward to various other festival activities organised by KretaAyer-Kim Seng Citizens’ Consultative Committee (KA-KS CCC) from Wed, 20 Sep to Thu, 19 Oct 2017. Starting with the official light up ceremony at 7pm on September 23rd, there are shows, street fairs and even a lantern painting competition!
See the full list of activities here: http://chinatownfestivals.sg/
Gardens By The Bay
Surround yourself with awe-inspiring super-trees decorated in the theme of the festival. Mid-Autumn @ Gardens by the Bay starts from 22 September till 8 October. Huge lantern displays are dotted around the park for visitors to explore, with light and sound displays beginning at 7:45 pm and 8:45 pm daily. At this timing, head for the supertree grove to see the lights dance above you in harmony to popular Chinese tunes such as he Chinese classic 'The Moon Represents my Heart' (月亮代表我的心).
Other activities include nightly cultural performances where local arts and dance troupes put on a mesmerizing show to celebrate the Lunar season. Kids can also immerse themselves in activities like lantern decorating, umbrella painting and various arts and crafts at the Fun Zone, so there’s plenty of things to keep them busy!
For more information on performance schedules and times, visit: http://www.gardensbythebay.com.sg/en/whats-on/calendar-of-events/2017-Mid-autumn.html
Singapore Botanic Gardens
Familiarise yourself with the infamous story of the Lady on the Moon with the Singapore Botanic Gardens as they stage a contemporary dance-theatre performance, Moonstruck, based on the Chinese legend of Chang Er. Moonstruck will also feature music inspired by the moon such as Beethoven’s famous Moonlight Sonata. The free performance will be held on Saturday, 30 September, 7 pm to 8 pm at the Shaw Foundation Symphony Stage.
Moonfest @ The Esplanade
Alongside ticketed performances, there are also a lot of free activities and shows to catch at the Esplanade! From a fashion show on traditional Chinese dress to a street opera with English and Chinese subtitles, the Esplanade offers insights into the history of the festival. A lantern walkabout with an LED phoenix and dragon is also a great highlight for the kids! Either bring your own lantern, or pick one up at the venue and explore the city’s grounds by lantern light. The event happens on the 30 Sep 2017, Sat, 7.30pm (Gather at the Forecourt Garden by 7.15pm)
For a full list of activities, visit: https://www.esplanade.com/festivals-and-series/moonfest-a-mid-autumn-celebration/2017
Mooncake Overload at Takashimaya
Visit Takashimaya’s B2 Foodhalls and be amazed by the amount of mooncake varieties you see on display! More than 50 local and international brands are selling mooncakes at the Takashimaya fair at Basement 2 which runs from 31 August to 4 October, so you’ll definitely be spoilt for choice!
Address: 391A Orchard Rd, Singapore 238873
Sun Yat Sen Memorial Hall
Visit Sun Yat Sen Nanyang Memorial Hall on the weekend before the official festival and learn how to make your own snowskin mooncakes, lanterns and story-telling sessions. Set in a beautiful colonial villa, discover unusual bites of Singapore’s history, and our involvement in the Chinese Cultural Revolution by dropping by this tranquil abode.
See their programme here: http://sysnmh.org.sg/en/whats-on/programmes
Singapore really comes to life during this season, so there’s no excuse to stay at home! There’s something for everyone to enjoy, so regardless of whether you’re just visiting our sunny little island, or you’re a seasoned local, the Mid-Autumn Festival offers something new for everyone.