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Your Guide to Asia's Mid-Autumn Festival

By HarryThursday 15th September 2016

Join us in Asia at the Mid-Autumn Festival. Join us in Asia at the Mid-Autumn Festival.


Every year, on the 15th day of the eighth month of the Chinese Han calendar and the Vietnamese calendar, mid-autumn celebrations take place in countries throughout Asia. Known as the Mid-Autumn Festival, or the Moon Festival, this annual event is a time for friends and family to come together, give thanks and look towards the future. 2016’s festival falls today, so we’re taking a look at the traditions involved and where you can take part in the festivities.


What is the Mid-Autumn Festival?

Originating in China and dating back to the Northern Song Dynasty (960–1127), the Mid-Autumn Festival began as celebration of the moon. In ethnic Chinese and Vietnamese culture, the moon has long been a symbol of rejuvenation and rebirth, with moon worship recorded way before the festival was established. Today, the celebrations are still very much focussed on the moon, but with the addition of other traditions and symbolic gestures.

Mid-Autumn Festival Traditions

Mooncakes: Mid-Autumn Festival wouldn’t be complete without these golden-crusted pastries. Although traditionally filled with red bean paste or lotus paste, today you can get all kinds of fillings.
Delicious mooncakes are part of the festivities. Delicious mooncakes are part of the festivities.
Family Reunion: Many families use the festival as an excuse to have a big gathering, either cooking a meal to enjoy together or, as is more popular these days, going out to a restaurant.
Offerings: Many households will prepare a table of offerings, consisting of lotus roots, fruit and a statue of the Jade Rabbit. In Vietnam, small animal sculptures moulded from rice paste are also included.
Dragon and Lion Dance Parades: Depending on where you’re celebrating, you may encounter colourful dragon and lion dance parades on the street.
Lanterns: In many cities and towns, brightly lit lanterns will adorn streets, hanging from buildings and trees, and lantern-making is a popular family activity.
Look out for the incredible lantern displays. Look out for the incredible lantern displays.

Join the Celebrations

You can join the Mid-Autumn celebrations at any of these great destinations, and you can get there on one of our Asian cruises.
While there are many places to celebrate in China’s capital, the Summer Palace is one of our favourites. With its many lakes, alongside palaces and gardens, the Summer Palace is a great spot for boating, a popular Mid-Autumn Festival activity.
Ho Chi Minh City
In Vietnam, the Mid-Autumn Festival is particularly special for children, and events for children are commonplace. In Ho Chi Minh City you’ll find parties, lantern-making competitions, singing, and parades.
Lantern-making is a big part of the festival. Lantern-making is a big part of the festival.
Hong Kong
The highlight of Hong Kong’s celebrations is the Tai Hang Fire Dragon Dance. The dragon dance, which takes place over three days (14-16 Sept.), features an epic 67-metre dragon, which is carried by 300 people and decorated with over 700,000 incense sticks.
Singapore’s Chinese Garden is a must-see for visitors, especially during the Mid-Autumn Festival. The garden, which mimics the northern Chinese imperial style, is transformed with hundreds of colourful lanterns.

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