The Matchmaker featured

Gardens by The Bay is all set to celebrate the Mid-Autumn Festival this September with a dazzling display of glowing lanterns. What’s in store for families with kids? This review gives you a sneak peek into the festivities.

By now, most Singaporean families would have already paid a visit to the Gardens by The Bay at least once. Yes, you have seen the Flower Dome, the Cloud Forest, and have taken enough selfies with the Supertree Grove as your backdrop. But have you been here during the Mid-Autumn Festival? Trust me when I say that it’s a whole new experience altogether. It’s happening from 3 – 18 September this year!


The Jade Rabbit set 02

Haven’t been to the previous Mid-Autumn Festival celebrations at the Gardens? Fret not for this year’s festivities are without a doubt a notch above those of past years’. A monumental outdoor video installation as well as an interactive lantern procession that utilises smartphones are two firsts at this year’s Mid-Autumn festivities at the Gardens!

I got to attend the media preview yesterday and was treated to a spectacular Instagram-worthy display of lantern sets. We gathered at the Supertree Grove where most of the festive action will be taking place. What do I think will appeal to families with children, you ask? Just about everything, really! Here are seven activities families can enjoy at the Mid-Autumn Festival at the Gardens by The Bay!

1. Take Part in The Interactive Lantern Procession on 4 September

interactive lanterns

Thanks to technology, a futuristic lantern casing that can be fitted over a selfie stick has been designed by lecturers from the Singapore University of Technology and Design (SUTD). How do you power up your lantern from the future? Follow these simple steps:

  • Download the “Mid-Autumn @Gardens by The Bay” app which is free on the App Store or Google Play store
  • Collect your lantern casing (they’ll be given out free on a first-come-first-served basis)
  • Pick up a selfie stick or bring your own (limited quantities will be given out while stocks last)

Watch this video demonstration to find out how to get that lantern shining bright.

 

Don’t worry about draining your data plan or needing a wifi connection for the app to work. The app uses Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE) technology to function. Also, BLE does not impact your battery life much at all as it only requires a small amount of power to transmit data. So quit worrying about techie stuff and just enjoy being part of the fun procession!

What I found really cool about the app and the futuristic lanterns is that the colour of the lantern changes when passing specific points along the route of the procession! How does this happen? Bluetooth beacons are planted along the route and they broadcast signals which are picked up by the app. Based on the signal’s transmission, the app lights up in a different shade, allowing the lantern to be lit up in that shade.

You do not need to register to participate in the interactive lantern procession, which will be part of the launch of the Mid-Autumn Festival on 4 September 2016 at 6.30pm at the main entrance of Gardens by The Bay.

Lantern casing collection points: Main Entrance, Supertree Grove and outside Bayfront MRT station
Selfie stick collection point: Main Entrance (if you have your own selfie sticks, bring them along!)

When: 4 September 2016
Time: 6.30pm
Location: Main Entrance

2. Be Amazed by The Giant Lantern Displays

The Ten Suns

You’re going to want to keep your cameras on standby for this one. Get up close with sprawling lantern sets, some of which measure up to 27 metres in length, that depict Asian fables of the moon. The Ten Suns (above) is based on the Asian folklore of ten suns having caused the Earth to scorch under their blazing heat. Chang Er’s husband, Hou Yi, who was an expert archer, shot down each sun till there was just one to provide Earth with warmth and light. (I never knew that!)

Here’s a glimpse of the other lantern displays you can expect to see when you visit the festival.

The Jade Rabbit

The Jade Rabbit set 1

The Jade Rabbit is portrayed as a companion to the Moon Goddess, Chang Er, in Chinese folklore. It is said that we sometimes see the shape of the Jade Rabbit pounding the elixir of immortality in a mortar on the night of a full moon.

The Matchmaker 

The Matchmaker

The Old Man Under The Moon is the God of Marriage and Love. Legend has it that his is the hand of fate that results in a man and a woman falling in love.

Chang Er 

Chang Er set 3

Chang Er and her husband, Hou Yi, were once immortals. To become immortal again, Hou Yi embarked on a dangerous journey to find the pill of immortality, which Chang Er took and floated towards the moon where she lives in a palace as the Moon Goddess.

The Moon and The Sun

The Moon and The Sun

This one’s a tad different – it’s a Korean tale. A brother and sister pair escaped a tiger’s attack by holding on to a rope that descended from Heaven. The siblings then rose above the clouds, where the sister morphed into the sun, and the brother, the moon.

When: 3 – 18 September 2016
Time: 7pm – 11pm daily
Location: Golden Garden, near conservatories, Supertree Grove and Dragonfly Bridge

3. Savour Asian Delights at Food Street

Chinese bun in bamboo basket

Due to popular demand, the ever-popular Food Street is making a return to the festival this year. A sumptuous spread of Asian inspired delights await you at this gastronomical haven. Get your tastebuds acquainted with non-traditional fare like salted egg fries and chili crab mantou.

When: 2 – 18 September 2016
Time: 6pm – 10.30pm daily
Location: Colonnade (Supertree Grove)

4. Be Spellbound by The Art of Storytelling

children storytelling

Here’s your chance to introduce your kids to the ancient art of storytelling! The Theatre Practice will be bringing the fast-paced craziness of the Story Challenge to its audience. What will you be doing? Throw out some themes and conditions for the tales to be told by these quick-thinking artistes – they’ll only have five minutes to come up with one from scratch!

Children can enjoy their favourite mid-autumn folk tales – but each with its own twist. The sessions are held in collaboration with NLB and The Theatre Practice. You’re welcome to bring your own lantern and join the troupe for a short stroll afterwards to see the lantern displays.

When: 3 – 18 September 2016
Time: Monday* to Friday: 8pm – 8.30pm, Saturday & Sunday: 6.45pm – 7.30pm & 8pm – 8.30pm
Location: Miniature Gardens (near Floral Clock)

*Monday (12 September): 6.45pm – 7.30pm & 8pm – 8.30pm

5. Sit Back and Watch Some Cultural Performances

Hand of woman playing guzheng.

In collaboration with the National Arts Council (NAC), there will be nightly cultural performances during the span of the Mid-Autumn Festival at the Gardens. These will be themed “Moon | Conversations”. Some of the performing cultural groups include the NUS Chinese Orchestra, StringWerkz and the Singapore Hokkien Huay Kuan Dance Theatre. So if you’re in the mood for an artsy evening, head down to the Gardens with your family. Admission is free!

When: 3 – 18 September 2016
Time: Monday* to Thursday: 8pm – 8.45pm, Friday to Sunday: 7pm – 7.45pm & 8pm – 8.45pm
Location: Supertree Grove

*Monday (12 September): 7pm – 7.45pm and 8pm – 8.45pm

6. Get Hands-on with Craft and Fringe Activities

chinese calligraphy

If staying put and watching a cultural show is too much of an Herculean task for your kiddos, let them get hands-on at the various craft booths then! Let junior take his pick from lantern decorating, calligraphy* and riddle-solving! Put those brain cells to work!

When: 3 – 18 September 2016
Time: 7pm – 10pm daily
Location: Supertree Grove

*some activities are chargeable

7. Be Dazzled by Ron Arad’s 720° Light & Sound Installation

Ron-Arad-720

Design connoisseur Ron Arad makes his debut at the Gardens with his gigantic multimedia installation, 720°, brought in by the Singapore International Festival of Arts. The structure essentially resembles a giant lantern. Circular and measuring a whopping 18 metres wide, the structure made up of 6,000 silicone strands will light up with protected imagery and videos. Cameras on standby once again, please.

When: 2 – 17 September 2016
Time: 7pm – 11pm daily
Location: Meadow

Enjoy ticketing promotions during the Mid-Autumn Festival at Gardens by The Bay!

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Interactive Lantern Procession Ticketing Promotion

When you flash the “Mid-Autumn @Gardens by The Bay” app on your phone or show your lantern casing at the ticketing counter outside the Conservatories from 3 – 18 September 2016, you’ll enjoy 20% off local admission rates for double conservatory tickets.*

Mid-Autumn @Gardens by The Bay 2016 Promotion for Kids

Each child who brings along a lantern and shows it at the ticketing counter outside the Conservatories between 3 – 18 September 2016, from 5pm – 8.30pm, can redeem a free ticket to both Conservatories!*

*Terms & Conditions apply

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