Mid-Autumn Festival

// Read in German

One of the loveliest Chinese festivals, the Mid-Autumn Festival in Singapore, celebrates the end of the autumn harvest with family gatherings, mooncakes, and lots of lanterns that light up the city.

Singapore is currently lighting up in light of the Mid-Autumn Festival; a holiday celebrated mainly by the Chinese and other East Asian people at the end of the autumn harvest. As the holiday is all about family gatherings, lanterns and mooncakes it is also known as the Lantern or Mooncake Festival. Held up with a full moon at night, the festival is usually falling on the 15th day of the 8th month of the lunar calendar, corresponding to mid-September to early October of the Gregorian calendar and a time of the year that the moon is the brightest. This year, the Mid-Autumn Festival will be on October 1st.

The festival celebrates three fundamental concepts: Gathering, Thanksgiving, and Praying, and traditions and myths are formed around these concepts, although traditions have changed over time. Still, the Mind-Autumn Festival is mainly about well-being together.

In order to see the moon at its brightest time, celebrations usually start once the sun goes down. Then, Lanterns of all sizes and shapes are carried and displayed for a happy atmosphere and as a way to prosperity and good luck. In Singapore, colorful lanterns are put up in many places around the city-state one or two weeks before the Mid-Autumn Festival.

Lanterns illuminating Singapore’s China Town.

Another highlight of the Mid-Autumn Festival are mooncakes which are regarded as an indispensable delicacy. The traditional recipe contains a rich pastry typically filled with sweet-bean or lotus-seed paste and salted egg yolk in the center representing the full moon. The round shape symbolizes reunion. Typically, the imprint on top shows the Chinese characters for “longevity” or “harmony” and the name of the bakery and the filling inside.

Today, they exist in many variations: From traditional flavors with lotus seed paste and egg yolk to snowskin versions filled with everything from chocolate to champagne truffle. Mooncakes are very heavy and usually bring up to 1000 calories which is why they are usually eaten in small wedges, accompanied by a strong, palate-cleansing cup of Chinese tea.

Traditional Mooncakes

Snowskin Mooncake

Moon-Viewing Parties

Since the festival combines the appreciation of the moon, and beeing together with loved ones, so called moon-viewing-parties are popular among families and friends. During those, they sit in their gardens lit by the soft glow of paper lanterns, drink tea, and eat the famous mooncakes piece by piece.

It is said the moon is the brightest and roundest on the day which stands for family reunion. Consequently, this is the main reason why the festival is thought to be important.

Singapore’s Gardens by the Bay are exhibiting a collection of almost 2000 lanterns.

How Singapore celebrates the Mid-Autumn Festival

As a country composing of mostly Chinese inhabitants, Singapore has been paying attention to honor the Mid-Autumn Festival celebrations for a long time. For Singaporean children, it’s a tradition to hang lantern during the festival. And since the festival is an excellent opportunity to express gratitude, many suppliers and co-workers send mooncakes to their partners and clients.

Due to the pandemic and the ongoing restrictions in terms of group sizes, the Mid-Autumn Festival in 2020 goes virtual. It will stream light-up to audiences on social media so that families and friends can still enjoy all-together, even though they are not really in one place.

Light-Up @ Gardens by the Bay, 18 SEP – 4 OCT

Singapore’s famous Gardens by the bay exhibit a collection of almost 2,000 lanterns hand-painted and colored by community groups and the Gardens’ senior staff to embrace the themes of reunion and unity. Instead of live performances and activities at the Gardens, this year’s celebrations are virtually broadcasted.


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