Most cultures have harvest festivals, and the Chinese are no exception.
Based on Chinese legend and traditions brought to Singapore by our ancestors, the Mid-Autumn Festival is now celebrated yearly in August or September.
The Mid-Autumn Festival is also fondly known as the Lantern or Moon cake Festival because of the festivities that surround the occasion.
There are many interesting stories explaining the origin of the festival. Here are some of the most widespread stories about Mid-autumn Festival.
Chang Er and Hou Yi
Long long ago, there were 10 suns in the sky.
They burnt all the plants on the earth and the people were dying.
A hero, named Hou Yi,used his bow and arrows shot down nine of them, saving all the people on earth.
The queen of heaven gave Hou Yi a bottle elixir that could make Hou Yi become an immortal,
but the elixir was only efficacious for one person.
Hou Yi did not want to become an immortal, because he wanted to stay with his beautiful wife Chang Er.
He didn’t drink the elixir and asked his wife Chang Er to keep it for him.
Hou Yi gained much fame after he shot down the nine suns, and many men wanted to be his disciple.
Most of them were accepted by Hou Yi, but not every student of Hou Yi had good morality.
Feng Meng, one of his students, just wanted to get hold of Hou Yi’s elixir.
One day, Hou Yi went hunting with his students; Feng Meng pretended to be ill and remained at home.
After making sure that Hou Yi had gone, he went to Hou Yi’s house and forced Chang Er to give him the elixir.
Chang Er knew she could not defeat Feng Meng so she drank the elixir immediately.
The elixir made her become an immortal and she flew higher and higher and finally stopped on the moon.
From then on, people often pray to Chang Er for fortune and safety.
The Jade Rabbit
One day, three immortals that were living in heaven came to the earth.
They asked a fox, a monkey and a rabbit to find some food for them respectively.
The fox and the monkey both found something for the three immortals while the rabbit got nothing.
The rabbit felt very sorry for the three immortals.
Finally, he jumped into the fire and said to the three immortals, “Eat me, please!”
The three immortal were deeply moved by the rabbit.
They decided to bestow the rabbit with the title of “Jade Rabbit” and let him accompany Chang Er in the Moon Palace.
The Cake – Moon Cake
During the Yuan dynasty (A.D.1280-1368), China was ruled by the Mongolian people.
Leaders from the preceding Sung dynasty (A.D.960-1280) were unhappy at submitting to foreign rule,
and set how to coordinate the rebellion without it being discovered.
The leaders of the rebellion, knowing that the Moon Festival was drawing near, ordered the making of special cakes.
Backed into each moon cake was a message with the outline of the attack.
On the night of the Moon Festival, the rebels successfully attacked and overthrew the government.
What followed was the establishment of the Ming dynasty (A.D. 1368-1644).
Thus today, moon cakes are eaten to commemorate this legend.
This year – The Mid-Autumn Festival falls on September 19th (Thurs).
During the Mid-Autumn in Singapore, different communities such as Chinese association,
residential community, government or business organisations will organise moonlight appreciation party.
There will be games, Chinese culture performance, lanterns making competition, moon cake tasting with Chinese tea under the moon light being held everywhere in Singapore.
Some Singaporean Chinese will celebrate the festival by having reunion dinner at the eve of the festival and enjoy moon cakes and Chinese tea with their families.
Business men will make use of this festival opportunity to buy moon cake as gift to their customers to build tight.
Most of the Chinese will also buy moon cake for their parents and in-law. Parents will buy lanterns for their children to celebrate this mid-autumn festival.
You will be able to see children carry lanterns at the parks and seaside especially during the eve of the festival.
Chinatown is the place to be during the moon cake festival month as there will be a showcase of exciting, colourful and vibrant month long festivities from 7 Sept to 4 Oct 2013.
Every year during this mid-autumn festival, China town will be dominated with flowers and beautiful lanterns throughout the streets.
There will also be cultures performance and a vast variety of moon cakes of different brands for sale.
You can also taste the sample of different moon cakes before you decide which to buy.
Buy some moon cakes from some of the famous brands like Da Dong Restaurant, which is known for its handmade Snow skin moon cake with single yolk in lotus paste. and
Tong Heng Oriental Pastry, which is known for its baked moon cake with mixed nuts and baked moon cake with double yolk in lotus paste.
The Chinatown Mid-Autumn Festival 2013 celebration will kick off with a rousing Opening Ceremony featuring the Official Street Light-up, dragon dance performance, an exciting line-up of multicultural song and dance performances by local and overseas troupes from Taiwan and China as well as a spectacular fireworks display!
Date: Sat, 7 September 2013, Time: 7 – 10pm, Venue: New Bridge Road and Eu Tong Sen Street.
Checkout all their programme and activities here.
Another place that you should visit during the mid-autumn festival is the Chinese Gardens.
Every year there will be lot of beautiful lanterns from China exhibit at Chinese garden.
The theme of the lantern being display will be different from each year but you can be rest a sure that you will be fascinated by the beautiful lanterns light exhibit at every corner of Chinese garden.
You will be entertained by a carnival area with train rides and games as well as a bouncy castle and stalls selling lanterns and moon cakes.
And don’t miss the Sichuan Acrobatic Group at 8pm performing acrobatics and mask changing shows with pyrotechnics.
Fireworks display at 9pm.
Show & Fireworks: every Saturday and Sunday at 8pm and 9pm.
Lantern Display: nightly from 7pm onwards.
Entrance fee: SGD 12 / adult. SGD 8 / child from 4+ years.
Checkout all their programme and activities here.
HAPPY MID-AUTUMN FESTIVAL TO ALL!