Mid-Autumn Festival, also known as the lantern or moon festival, takes place annually on the 15th day of the eighth month in the Chinese calendar. This year, that day falls on September 21. Lớn celebrate the holiday, families & friends gather to revel in festivities like feasting on mooncakes,playing with lanterns, & moon gazing. But, while we’re no strangers to lớn this yearly affair, what is Mid-Autumnreally about? How did it all begin? and why vày we even celebrate it? to lớn answer your questions about this holiday, we’re here to let you in on everything from the festival"s time-honouredtraditions to lớn its history & legend. So, whether you’re looking to lớn get acquainted with the holiday, orjust hoping khổng lồ refresh your folklore,here"s everything you need to lớn know about one of Hong Kong"s most celebrated holidays.

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Although thetrue origin of Mid-Autumn Festival is not known for certain, history records show that moon-worshipping practices began over 3,000 years ago in the Shang Dynasty (c. 1600-1046 BC). But the festival only became an official celebration in trung quốc during the Tang Dynasty (618-907 AD) when ancient emperors of china would host a feast to lớn make offerings to deities và the moon in celebration of the year’s harvest. After the Tang Dynasty, Mid-Autumn Festival also became a time of the year for the emperor khổng lồ reward his officials for their hard work and contributions. Over time, it evolved into a festival of many traditions: khổng lồ give thanks lớn the moon, pray for better luck, fortune và fertility, and reunite with the familyto celebrate and admire the moon in its full glory.


There are many versionsof the myth and story behind Mid-Autumn Festival, but the most well-known revolves around an archer anh hùng named Hou Yi, and his wife Chang’e.

As the legend goes, Hou Yi was rewarded with an elixir of immortality after shooting down nine out of the ten sunsthat ravaged the land with drought and disaster. However, when Hou Yi’s apprentice, Feng Meng, attempted lớn steal the elixir, Chang’e stopped him by drinking the elixir herself.After doing so, she becameimmortal & floated lớn the moon, never lớn be seenby her beloved husband again. After learning what had happened to Chang’e, Hou Yi would prepare a feast on this day every year when the moon is believed to be the fullest, in hopes of catching a glimpse of his wife’s shadow.


Photograph: Shutterstock

Time-honoured traditions

Tai Hang Fire dragon DanceThe Tai Hang Fire dragon Danceisone of the most spectacular traditions during the Mid-Autumn Festival in Hong Kong. Legend has it that in the 1880s, the villagers in Tai Hang successfully chased off plague và evil spirits by parading the village with a straw dragon covered with incense. Lớn commemorate the victory, the villagers would perform a fire rồng dance through the alleys and streets of Tai Hang every year since. The real highlight here, though, is not the dance, but thespectacle ofthe huge 67-meter-long rồng covered in 72,000 incense sticks burning on its body. The Tai Hang long is a massive structure made out of hemp rope, pearl straw, and ratton và requires at least 300 performers to prop it up. Today, this public event has become one of the most famous annual rituals in Hong Kong and shines as a testament to the city’s rich cultural traditions.

Photograph: Courtesy Leisure & Cultural Services Department

LanternsLanterns are no doubt one of the oldest traditions of the Mid-Autumn Festival. For thousands of years, communities would come together during the Mid-Autumn festival to write wishes on sky lanterns (the type that floats up into the sky) & light them in honour of the legendary goddess of the moon, Chang’e, hoping that she would bless her worshippers with luck. Due tosafety concerns, however, lighting sky lanterns is prohibited in Hong Kong. But as Mid-Autumn approaches every year, you can usually find lantern displays in all shapes & forms popping up acrossthe city.

Moon gazingEach year, there are three important days to gaze at the moon among the Chinese community: the eve of the Mid-Autumn Festival where we welcome the moon; on the day of the festival, lớn admire the moon; và the following day, to send off the moon. Thisannual affair is a popular tradition that still remains in our modern city và every year, families, friends, and couples flock to lớn the best spots in town khổng lồ admire the beautiful moon.

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Mooncakes are said to lớn have originated from Yuan Dynasty (1271-1368 AD) revolutionaries as a means to lớn pass covert messages hidden in them. Nowadays, mooncakes symbolise togetherness and harmony, và every year we see shops và restaurants touting mooncakes ofall kinds. In fact, there"s an overwhelming variety of flavours to choose from these days. The most traditional ones, however,are madewith a lotus seed paste and a salted egg yolk centre. Mooncakes are eaten in small wedges with families or friends during the night of Mid-Autumn, often served with tea or wine.

Photograph: Courtesy cc/flickr/watashiwani

Water caltrops ("ling kok")Known as water caltrops, & sometimes water chestnuts,thislesser-known customary food isonly harvested once a year, usually a few weeksbefore the festival.They are probably one of the weirdest-looking nuts you"ll ever see, but don’t judgea nut by its shell as underneathits devilish appearance, is white nutty flesh with a slight crunch that tastes like a mildly sweet combination of roasted chestnuts và potato. While some consider the chestnut lớn resemble a bat, an auspicious symbol of prosperity because its Chinese character is homophonous with the word "fok" (which means luck & prosperity in Chinese); others believe thatthis dish is eaten during the festival because the word "ling" in its Chinese name,sounds lượt thích the same ‘ling’ in the Chinese idiom "chung ming ling lei", which means smart or clever.

Sweet glutinous rice dumplingsNo Mid-Autumn meal would be complete without serving up some sweet glutinous rice dumplings ("tong yuen"). Not only vì they tastedelicious và make a great post-feast dessert, but it is also symbolic in reflecting the tradition of families being together during the festival as thecharacter"yuen", is the same letter used in the Chinese word "tuen yuen", which means togetherness.

Photograph: Courtesy Green Gingko Tea

Festive sips

Osmanthus wineWe pair mooncakes with all different kinds of beverages nowadays, but the most traditional during Mid-Autumn Festival is probably osmanthus wine. It is a Chinese alcoholic drink that uses baijiu và osmanthus flowers to createa sweet wine with a subtle floral aroma. Osmanthus is traditionally believed to lớn be the key lớn longevity & is often offered during toasts to lớn encourage a long and healthy life.Some historical records also suggest that osmanthus flowers were exchanged between countries during the Warring States period as a symbol of peace và goodwill. The Chinese character for osmanthus "gwai’ also sounds similar to the word for wealth, so drinking osmanthus wine on the night of the full moon also represents the celebration of prosperity, health, & harmony. We"ll cheers khổng lồ that.

TeaIn addition to lớn wine, tea and mooncakes are also an inseparable pair.Apart from cutting through the grease, tea also aids digestion, which definitely comes in handy after a full feast and sticky mooncakes!

It"s time khổng lồ get the celebration going! Our ultimate guide tothe Mid-Autumn Festival will take you through everything from the best lantern displays & celebratory events in town torooftop bars và restaurants that offer a fantastic view of the sky.

Photograph: Courtesy Mandarin Oriental Hong Kong

If you"re filing your holiday leaves for theMid-Autumn Festival, you can also indulge in a staycation.Check out the city"s mostromantic hotels, quirky boutique hotels, tocatch a little R&R. For more inspirationread about our experiences from various hotels in the city.And there is no need to lớn worry about your pets because there are also many pet-friendly hotels for your special paw pals!

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