Mid-Autumn FestivalMid-Autumn Festival


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 21 Jul 2022  


In Chinese culture, the Mid-Autumn Festival marks the end of the autumn harvest and the beginning of colourful celebrations, family get-togethers, and plentiful servings of decadent mooncakes. This year, you can expect the festivities to begin on 10th September.

Join us as we explore the origins, traditions, and best things to do in Singapore during this special time of the year.


Origins of Mid-Autumn Festival



Festival folklore

With its roots dating back more than 3,000 years, there are countless mythic tales and legends about the occasion's storied beginnings. One version attributes the festival to the heritage of Chinese emperors during the Zhou Dynasty, who worshipped the moon in hopes of a bountiful harvest.

For others, it is the tale of the Chinese Moon Goddess Chang’e, who drank an immortality elixir gifted to her husband before it could get into the hands of his envious disciple. Despite these different retellings, the significance of the moon is one theme that resonates and unifies all Mid-Autumn Festival stories.




United by moonlight

As you wander across the city soaking in the atmosphere, you may notice the Mid-Autumn Festival being fondly referred to as the “Moon Festival”.

Apart from its role in the many yarns and narratives, the event traditionally falls on the fifteenth day of the eighth month of the Chinese lunar calendar, a time when the moon is at its fullest and brightest. The moon's roundness also represents a symbolic display of unity, inspiring families and friends to reconnect and spend time together.




Historical bites

The story of the mooncake's stature and popularity as a Mid-Autumn festival staple is as rich as the pastry itself. Its earliest origins date back to the Shang Dynasty (1600–1046 BC) and the Zhou Dynasty (1045–221 BC), when the Taishi Cake was created in memory of the last Shang emperor's prime minister, or Taishi. With its thin edges and thick filling, the Taishi cake was an early iteration of the modern day mooncake.

It wasn't until the Song Dynasty (960–1279 AD) that the term "mooncake", or 月饼 (yuè bǐng), was mentioned, with ingredients like lard, egg, and fruit added. The tradition of eating mooncakes during the Mid-Autumn Festival started during the Tang Dynasty (873–888 AD) and was adopted by the masses in the Ming Dynasty (1368–1644 AD).


Mid-Autumn Festival Traditions

Paper lantern


Illuminating lanterns

One of the most bewitching customs you will encounter this time of year is the kaleidoscopic display of festival lanterns. Known as 灯笼 (dēng lóng) in Chinese, these whimsical decorations light up the night with their bright and colourful hues.

Commonly made from bamboo and wrapped in translucent paper, they come in an assortment of shapes and are popular among children. Some believe that the higher you hang the lanterns, the more luck your family will receive, so don't forget to gaze up as you explore the city.




A feast with the family

With themes of harmony and unity at the heart of the occasion, the festivities are a time for families, close friends, and neighbours to bond and recount their blessings and good fortune. After hanging lanterns and playing a few games, everyone gathers around to enjoy a sumptuous feast together.

Root foods such as sweet potato, taro, and pumpkins are served along with favourites like duck and crab to show appreciation for a good harvest. Another popular activity is to enjoy a spot of High Tea or book a table at a Chinese restaurant for a banquet of Mid-Autumn Festival food. Our guide to the best Chinese Restaurants in Singapore is the perfect way to inspire your appetite.


Magical Mooncakes



Delicious by design

Mooncakes are often gifted and shared between family and friends to express appreciation. Following the circular motif of oneness, these rotund delicacies are made from a thick pastry and shaped like a full moon. The outside is often decorated with unique concentric shapes or patterns and sometimes a script or typographic message.

Slice down into the crust to reveal the ensemble of tempting fillings. Lotus seed paste, red bean, mixed nuts, and salted egg yolk are some of the common flavours. Today, you can find delights such as fresh fruit, champagne, pralines, and chocolate as contemporary flavours. A crowd-pleasing option unique to Singapore is the sweet yet savoury Durian mooncake. A wedge or two is best enjoyed with some tea.


Marina Bay Sands Mooncakes

Marina Bay Sands Mooncakes


Celebrate Mid-Autumn Festival in full splendor with mooncakes presented by Marina Bay Sands. Delight loved ones with thoughtfully crafted mooncakes, presented in a beautifully designed box sure to impress. Savour the classic White Lotus Double Yolk flavour, or relish in modern flavours like the velvety-smooth Bird’s Nest with Red Date, tantalising Truffle Bak Kwa Red Lotus, umami-filled XO Dried Scallop Wu Liang Ye, and Jinhua Ham White Lotus.

Order your mooncakes online from 13 Jul to 10 Sep.




Other ways to celebrate Mid-Autumn 2022

Head to Chinatown

For an authentic experience full of ceremonial artistry and impressive lantern displays, a visit to Chinatown awaits. This charming precinct is home to a heady mix of the ancient and the new. A short stroll around the neighbourhood reveals a sprawl of temples, heritage centres, and surfaces adorned with vivid murals. Cut down a mazy side street and stumble upon Chinese herbal medicine centres, quaint tea, and gift shops.

Come nightfall, the same streets and alleys pulsate with a whole different vibe. Bring your camera to capture rows of lanterns and energetic lion dances, and be sure to check out the bustling nightlife options in the area.

For the best ways to spend time in Singapore, plan ahead with our list of the most notable festivals in Singapore. If you’re headed to the Marina Bay area, plan your visit with the latest happenings at Marina Bay Sands.

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