Is it just us, or do the months seem to fly by super quickly these days? Believe it or not girls, The Mid-Autumn festival is right around the corner and while we’re sad to wave goodbye to summer, we’re happy to welcome this heart-warming holiday back with open arms! This traditional harvest festival has become more than just a celebration of the change in seasons, but a time to get together with family and friends for some moon-gazing, lantern-making and mooncake-munching fun. So, whether you’re a festival newbie or a seasoned pro, we’ve got you covered for all the cultural happenings around town this Mid-Autumn.
A bit of history
Celebrated annually around September and October, Mid-Autumn festival falls on the 15th day of the 8th month of the Chinese lunar calendar and this year it takes place on 8 September. This traditional harvest festival commemorates the legend of Chang’e. A selfless woman, she drank the elixir of immortality to save the country from her ruthless husband and in doing so, floated up to the moon to live forever. Nowadays, the festival has become a time to celebrate the moon, food, family and friendswhich all sounds pretty good to us!
Image sourced via Chinatown Festivals
Where to celebrate?
Being a Chinese festival, Chinatown usually holds the biggest and brightest celebrations and this year is no exception. Organised by the Kreta Ayer Community Club and starting from 23 August to 28 September, thousands of hand-crafted flower-shaped lanterns will light up the streets, as Chinatown becomes a bright hive of cultural activity (even more than usual). This hub gives you a real taste of the history and culture of Chinatown, making it a must-visit for the Mid-Autumn festival.
Wander the Festive Carnival (open from 11am daily) to browse for lanterns and tuck into traditional treats. Learn more about Chinatown’s history and culture by joining one of the Heritage Walking Trails (6 & 7 September, 2pm and 5pm). Make sure you don’t miss the nightly live shows (from 8pm daily) or the annual community lantern walk on 6 September at 7pm. Join huge crowds of up to 8,000 people on this bright and colourful neighbourhood walk from Kreta Ayer Square along New Bridge Road, but be sure to get there early girls! With road closures planned from 5-11pm, you may need to plan an alternative route home or stick around and enjoy the live music, dance performances, dragon dance and pyrotechnic display, it’s set to be the biggest street party of the festival!
Planned road closures for the community lantern walk on 6 September 5-11pm:
2 right lanes of Eu Tong Sen Street, between Kreta Ayer Road and Upper Cross Street
New Bridge Road, between Upper Cross Street and Kreta Ayer Road
Get the camera ready as you pass under the thousands of stunning flower-themed lanterns adorning New Bridge Road, Eu Tong Sen Street and South Bridge Road.
a.k.a. Food Street! Be sure to pop by one of the many street hawker stalls on Smith Street and tuck into mouth-watering local delights after an exhilarating lantern stroll (satay anyone?)
Be sure to pop by Tai Thong Cake shop for some delicious traditional cakes and pastries, including their renowned mooncakes!
Tai Thong Cake Shop, 35 Mosque Street, Singapore 059513, 6223 2905
Far right lane of South Bridge Road, between Mosque Street and Sago Lane
From 23 August – 28 September For full details, including road closures and alternative travel arrangements, visit www.chinatownfestivals.sg
Image sourced via Pinterest
Back for another year, Esplanade Theatre’s Moonfest is an annual celebration of culture and the arts, held during the Mid-Autumn festival. Hosting a mix of ticketed and free events, Moonfest is a cultural smorgasbord with something for everyone. From live Beijing opera and street performers to traditional dance troupes and orchestral concerts, this three-day festival is a must-visit! Highlights are the Peking Opera Extravaganza (5 September) and Hong Kong Chinese Orchestra (6 September) for a beautiful introduction to classical Chinese music. Don’t forget to take a stroll along the waterfront and enjoy the music, dance and art by lantern-light.
From 5-8 August. For full details, visit www.moonfest.com.sg
Image sourced via Pinterest
Munching on Mooncakes
Mid-Autumn isn’t all lanterns and moon gazing, girls! Like any harvest festival, the food takes centre stage and under the spotlight are mooncakes. Traditionally made with thick sweet pastry and filled with sweet lotus paste and salty duck egg yolk, these baked little morsels have become synonymous with the Mid-Autumn festival. Nowadays however, there is a wide range of unique flavours to choose from so even the pickiest taste buds can enjoy these moorish bites. So, love ‘em or hate ‘em here’s the low-down on the best mooncakes in town.
1. Intercontinental Singapore Classic Mooncakes – These traditional morsels already have a bit of a cult following with many a foodie claiming them to be some of the best in Singers. With a range of low-sugar mooncakes made with 50% less sugar and 100% natural ingredients, we might have found our excuse to indulge in a few more than usual. Plus, with their efficient online ordering system, Intercontinental Singapore has made purchasing simple and fuss-free.
2. Carlton Hotel Red Velvet Mooncakes – Not a fan of the traditional mooncake? Fear not! These sweet treats are inspired by the Carlton Hotel’s signature Red Velvet cake and is a sugary mashup with the softer “snowskin” style mooncakes, made with sweet cream cheese paste and a crunchy centre of royaltines. Delic!
3. Tian Fu Tea Room Puff Pastry Mooncakes – For that extra bit of deliciousness, tuck into these flaky puff pastry mooncakes from Tian Fu Tea Room. Traditionally from Chiu Chow, these mooncakes are filled with yam paste instead of the traditional lotus seed, making it a lighter, rounder and equally delicious version.
4. Grand Hyatt Singapore Snow Skin Mooncakes – One for the grown-ups, this selection box of boozy mooncakes are simply divine. The Grand Hyatt’s Mezza have upped the ante and come out with flavours such as white lotus with rose truffle, caramel and sea salt, black sesame and yuzu, green tea and sake, Champagne truffle and more.
5. Da Paolo Gastronomia Mooncake Crodos – Proving to be a food fad here to stay (read more about Singapore’s newest food fads here), Da Paolo have created two Mid-Autumn flavoured Crodos (their take on a cronut). So, if the traditional mooncakes don’t quite float your boat, then these sugary pastries are sure to tempt your taste buds! From now till 27 September 2015, pre-order with Da Paolo to get your fingers on freshly baked golden Crodo’s filled with White Lotus cream and topped with Snow Skin Flowers, two delicious mash-ups that we can’t wait to sample.