Every September, thousands of lanterns line the streets of Chinatown for a very special occasion – The Mid-Autumn Festival, also commonly referred to as the Mooncake or Lantern Festival. The actual day of the festival falls on 30th September 2012, but there’s plenty to do, eat, and see throughout the entire month though, so be sure to join in the festivities if you happen to be in Singapore during this time!
Mid-Autumn Traditions: Mooncakes
Mooncakes are traditional Chinese pastries that contain a thick and sweet paste, typically made of lotus seed or sweet bean, surrounded by a thin layer of crust. During the festival, you can get these delicious pastries from practically every single bakery/confectionary in Singapore, especially Chinatown.
According to ancient Chinese folklore, during the overthrowing of Mongol rule, the Ming revolutionaries passed messages hidden within mooncakes to coordinate the revolt. The revolution was a huge success, and the tradition of eating these mouth-watering cakes continues to thrive till date.
The 15th day of the Eighth Lunar Month is usually calculated to coincide of a full moon, and there’s no better time to watch the moon than during this time of the year! Families typically gather outdoors during this time to socialize with each other, eat moon cakes and drink tea around a circular table as a symbol of family reunion and longevity.
In Chinese folklore and culture, lanterns are said to be able to chase away evil spirits and demons. Regarded as an indispensable part of traditional lunar festivals, children and their families would either buy or make colorful lanterns for the Mid-Autumn and parade them in parks or along the streets.
Chinatown – Most of the Mid-Autumn festival action takes place here in Chinatown. With thousands of lanterns dressing up its streets and traditional performances, it is hard to not get caught up in the festivities.
Jurong Gardens (Chinese Garden) – Every year, this quiet little garden comes to life with the Mid-Autumn celebrations and the biggest lantern exhibition of the year. The garden’s pagodas, bridges and lakes teem with activity, as families and little children walk around with their lanterns whilst soaking up the festive atmosphere.
Getting There from Capri
Chinatown: From Changi Business Park, take Changi South Avenue 1 to the Pan Island Expressway (PIE), heading towards CTE. Take exit 15A that merges into CTE and head toward City. From CTE, take Exit 1B towards Outram Road, and then make a left turn to Eu Tong Sen Street, where Chinatown resides.
Jurong Gardens: From Changi Business Park, take Changi South Avenue 1 to the Pan Island Expressway (PIE), heading towards Jurong. Take Exit 31 out onto Jurong Town Hall Road, and turn right onto Boon Lay Way. Jurong Gardens, or Chinese Gardens, is located right next to the Chinese Garden MRT Station (EW25).
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15th Aug 2012 – 15th Nov 2012
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15th Aug 2012 – 6th Jan 2013
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