Mid-Autumn Festival must be upon us when mooncake ads start occupying the walls of the MTR. Bakeries start putting out discounts on tins of mooncake and 7-11 starts selling plastic Hello Kitty or Lightning McQueen lanterns. One of our favorite occasions (and not just because it is symbolized by a deliciously sinful lotus seed paste-filled pastry), this 3,000-yr old festival was traditionally celebrated by gathering the whole family to worship the moon, believed to be at its fullest and brightest on this day.
Although most people plan quick getaways around this holiday, staying put in our #Homekong is not such a bad idea, especially with the following…
5 must do’s during the Mid-Autumn Festival
Munch on mooncakes
From the traditional pastry filled with lotus seed paste or red bean to eccentric flavors like spicy beef, truffle and foie gras, mooncakes have taken a plethora of shapes, flavors and forms. These days they even include pretty popsicles and cheeky butt-shaped ones! It’s common practice to give this delicacy as presents to relatives and clients because its full moon shape symbolizes unity and happiness, but what’s better than giving and eating them? Making them yourself! Make your present extra special by taking a traditional, snowy or chocolate mooncake making class.
Light up a lantern
Although the significance of lanterns in the celebration of Mid-Autumn Festival is not certain, making and playing with lanterns has become a hallmark of this holiday. If you have children in school, chances are you’ve helped them make a lantern as a school project. Different lantern exhibitions abound the territory, but the most impressive one is the yearly Lantern Carnival in Victoria Park in Causeway Bay.
Soak in culture and tradition in Victoria Park
Every year, Victoria Park transforms into a magical place with its colorful lantern displays and stage performances. The entire park comes alive with palm readings, games, lantern riddle quizzes and craft demonstrations like Hakka embroidery. This year’s event promises a mega extravaganza. There’s gonna be an interactive Moon Hunting installation and a lantern exhibition inspired by the Hong Kong-style cheongsam. The carnival opens from 6:30-11:00pm from September 30 to October 8, except on October 4, when it stays open until midnight.
Watch a fire dragon dance
What started as a means to stop a plague afflicting the people of Tai Hang 100 years ago became a notable part of Hong Kong’s Mid-Autumn celebrations today. After a series of plagues, Tai Hang’s villagers consulted a soothsayer, who told them that the only way to end their string of bad luck is to stage a fire dragon dance for 3 days and nights. Nowadays, this dance features a 67-metre long dragon comprised of thousands of incense sticks and hundreds of performers. Catch the parade in Tai Hang from October 3-6 at 8:15pm. It also takes place in Victoria Park on October 4 at around 10:45pm.
Eat hairy crab
Hairy crabs are less popular around the world as a mid-autumn delicacy compared to the mooncake. However, hairy crabs are the highlight of reunion dinners in Chinese culture. These small crustaceans are considered an environmental pest in the USA but are prized for its sweet meat and female’s eggs in Asia, which ripen around the time of the festival.
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