Happy Mid-Autumn Festival!

Enjoy your favourite mooncakes with your loved ones as we share with you more about this lovely Mid-Autumn Festival.

The Mid-Autumn Festival originated from China in the Zhou Dynasty, approximately 3,000 years ago. The ancient Chinese Emperors had worshipped the moon in hope for a plentiful harvest and over time, moon-gazing became popular among the masses. In the Northern Song Dynasty, the festival was officially established on the fifteenth day of the eighth lunar month. Mooncakes only became a tradition later during the Yuan Dynasty. It is rumoured that mooncakes were used to convey secret messages between the Han Chinese to overthrow the Mongols back then. Since 2008, the Mid-Autumn Festival is set as a public holiday in China that has become almost as popular as the Lunar New Year. 

A famous mythology associated with the Mid-Autumn Festival is the Moon Goddess, Chang-e and her husband Hou Yi. Hou Yi, whose archery skills saved the world by destroying nine of the ten orbiting suns, was rewarded with the elixir of immortality. Hou Yi did not want to drink the elixir as he desired to stay with his beloved wife. However, his disciple tried to coerce Chang-e into giving the elixir when Hou Yi was away on a hunt. In a moment of distress, Chang-e drank the elixir and thus ascended to the moon. In the end, the couple was separated forever with Chang-e pining for Hou Yi from her palace on the moon.   

Mid-Autumn Festival lanterns at Chinatown

Experience the festive ambience in Chinatown and Gardens by the Bay. 
In Chinatown, the night sky is illuminated by beautiful, ornate lanterns every year for the Mid-Autumn Festival. Experience a magical yet traditional revelry in the streets of Chinatown that are adorned with large lanterns and fairy lights. While the illuminations remain a striking spectacle, its well-loved programmes are moved online for the year. From virtual activities such as making mooncake to painting lanterns, viewers can also sign up for a Zoom Escape Room and explore Chinatown online through a series of puzzles. 

Meanwhile, Gardens by the Bay provides an extravagant display celebrating the festival as well. The iconic garden features a stunning Apricot Grove that is inspired by the Chinese fable of Dong Feng and the Korean lantern display ‘Royal Family’s Walk’ that depicts the royal procession in the early Joseon Dynasty. Lastly, do not miss out on ‘Illuminations of Joy’, a lantern installation in Supertree Grove as well as Water Song, an intricate set based on the famous Chinese poem 《水调歌头·明月几时有》. 

Image by Gardens by the Bay

For those opting to stay at home, there are also a plethora of virtual activities to be done with your loved ones. Moonfest is bringing traditional Chinese art performance online that includes opera arts, poetry, shadow puppetry and Lantern Walkabout. Streaming live on Esplanade Offstage and Huayi’s Facebook Page, experience the festival right in the comfort of your own home. 

Image by Huayi – Chinese Festival of Arts 华艺节

Here’s to a beautiful Mid-Autumn Festival and a warm moon-gazing experience! 🌕