Falling on the 15th day of the eighth lunar month, the Mid-Autumn Festival is one of the key festivals for Chinese communities around the world. We all know that we eat mooncakes and carry lanterns, but how many of us actually know why? With the world still in pandemic mode, Mid-Autumn Festival 2021 is taking on a physical-digital hybrid format for the second year running. Here’s our chance to truly immerse in the culture and discover the origins of the traditions as a family.
MID-AUTUMN FESTIVAL 2021 LANTERN DISPLAYS
Chinatown Mid-Autumn Festival 2021
The iconic street light-up in Chinatown this year boasts 900 lantern pieces spanning 880 metres. The stretch between Eu Tong Sen Street and North Bridge Road highlights scenes of family reunions and Jade Rabbit lanterns with osmanthus flowers, while snowskin mooncakes feature along South Bridge Road. The pièce de résistance, however, is a 12-metre-tall centrepiece opposite Chinatown Point depicting the goddess Chang’e ascending to the moon.
The Chinatown Mid-Autumn Festival 2021 returns in a hybrid format to also bring festive cheer into your home. You can catch the street light-up while exploring the historic Chinatown precinct via the 360 Virtual Tour and Heritage Trail. Also take part in weekly lantern riddle videos, live mooncake-making workshops, and upcycling lantern-making tutorials, all happening online.
Where Chinatown | Online
When Till 5 October
A Luminous Mid-Autumn at Rainforest Lumina
Experience Rainforest Lumina in a whole new light during Mid-Autumn Festival 2021. The rainforest will be coming to life in a symphony of lights, music, and interactive play installations. As the moon shines through the canopy, visit Insta-worthy photo points including the Moon Bridge and various lantern zones.
Embark on the nighttime adventure by designing your own lantern at the activity station. Then light your path through the rainforest with the Creature Crew. Get smart at the Lantern Riddles board to get into the spirit. Extra fun abounds as visitors young and old play at the LED playground. Finally, share your favourite moments on social media with the hashtag #RainforestLumina to redeem a tasty Mid-Autumn treat.
Where Singapore Zoo
When 3 to 12 September & 17 to 19 September, 7.15pm – 12mn
Admission $14+ per child aged 3 to 12 years & senior aged 60 years and up | $18+ per adult (up to 30% discount for online ticketing)
“Blessings” at Gardens by the Bay
Gardens by the Bay hopes to bring tidings of good health and better days ahead with Mid-Autumn Festival 2021 celebrations. One of the main highlights of this year’s lantern displays feature Sky Lanterns magically ‘floating’ up a Supertree. Over in the Flower Dome, wander into Rabbits Forest, where you’ll meet adorable rabbit lanterns spreading festive cheer.
33 community groups also hand-painted 1,000 round paper lanterns and folded 2,000 origami cranes penned with words of blessings to create Colonnade of Lights and Origami Crane Trees respectively. If you’re there on the weekends, stop by the Flower Field Hall for a series of cultural performances. These will also be streamed live on their Facebook page.
Where Gardens by the Bay | Online
When 15 September to 3 October
Admission Free; Flower Dome admission applies
MID-AUTUMN FESTIVAL 2021 CULTURAL CELEBRATIONS
Wan Qing Mid-Autumn Festival 2021
This year’s Wan Qing Mid-Autumn Festival brings heritage home with an exciting line-up of family-friendly digital initiatives. Join an interactive lantern-making tutorial with Event Arts on 21 September and learn how to decipher lantern riddles with the Riddle Association (Singapore) and Bong Qiu Qiu on 22 September. In the meantime, download Let’s Celebrate with Uncle Ting: Mid-Autumn Festival, a printable activity kit for children.
Also, drop by the Sun Yat Sen Nanyang Memorial Hall’s festival lawn to be enchanted by Those Moonlit Moments… (top). The installation features oversized lanterns produced by Thai artist Boonyavee Boonsakda, known to his fans as Ngaew Ngaew. His characters enjoy mooncakes under the gentle and watchful eye of Moon Rabbit, a character created just for this occasion.
Where Online | Sun Yat Sen Nanyang Memorial Hall Outdoor Lawn
When Till 26 September
Let’s Learn About…Mid-Autumn Festival
Always wondered how the traditions and stories surrounding the Mid-Autumn Festival came about? Especially when your children ask every question under the moon and you have no idea how to answer them. Now you and the kids can learn all about it together, thanks to this free online resource put together by the Asian Civilisations Museum.
When Till 30 September
Featuring a wide array of traditional Chinese arts performances and activities, Moonfest – A Mid-Autumn Celebration returns for its 17th edition. This year’s Moonfest presents a series of digital performances available for viewing online till 3 October. These include Journey to the West: The Tongtian River performed by the Taipei Puppet Theater and Battle of the Xiaoshang River by the Foshan Cantonese Opera Troupe.
The hybrid festival also features on-site workshops for parent-child bonding from 17 to 19 September. Learn What’s in a Chinese Surname? and gain a better understanding of your roots through string art. You can also learn how to make your own paper lanterns and shadow play puppets. These workshops are recommended for children aged six to nine years old, and an accompanying adult.
Where Esplanade – Theatres on the Bay
When 17 September to 3 October
Admission Online programmes free | $36 for parent-child workshops
MID-AUTUMN FESTIVAL 2021 FAMILY REUNIONS
Mid-Autumn Imperial High Tea at Si Chuan Dou Hua
Plan for an intimate high tea session with loved ones at Si Chuan Dou Hua this festive season. The annual Mid-Autumn Imperial High Tea returns, showcasing handmade dim sum and mooncakes alongside Noble, the restaurant’s custom tea blend. At the TOP of UOB Plaza outlet, the menu includes a refreshing cocktail based on an infusion of Noble.
Where TOP of UOB Plaza | PARKROYAL on Beach Road
When 1 to 30 September
How much From $38++ per person (UOB cardholders enjoy a 1-for-1 promotion)
Mid-Autumn Treasures at The Courtyard and Jade Restaurant
Reunite over freshly brewed tea and handcrafted creations with Mid-Autumn Treasures Afternoon Tea at The Courtyard. Savour Pistachio Green Tea Meringue Tart, Coconut Raspberry-rose Ispahan, Osmanthus and Wolfberry Jelly, and other treats inspired by The Fullerton Hotel Singapore’s 2021 mooncake collection.
For a multi-generational Chinese feast, celebrate with Jade’s Mid-Autumn Treasures Menu. Artfully prepared by Chinese Executive Chef Leong Chee Yeng, the six-course set starts with the Trio of Moonlight combination of sautéed sliced duck, chilled fresh abalone scented with rose wine, and deep-fried crab cake with pumpkin purée. Each course draws inspiration from the traditions of the season, ending with a constellation of desserts.
Where The Fullerton Hotel Singapore
When Till 30 September
How much The Courtyard: from $51++ per adult & $26++ per child | Jade: $118++ per person
Mid-Autumn Feasts at Mott 32 and RISE Restaurant
Contemporary Chinese restaurant Mott 32 unveils a luxurious nine-course Mid-Autumn Set Menu for your family reunion. Highlights include Scallop Taro Croquette, Double-boiled Sea Conch Soup, Steamed Giant Garoupa, and Wok-fried Glutinous Rice. Round up the meal with Almond Cream Soup, Glutinous Rice Dumplings, and house-made Mini Mooncake.
Nestled within Marina Bay Sands’ hotel lobby, RISE presents heritage delicacies with a limited-time Mid-Autumn Set Menu. The four-course set begins with Pomelo Green Mango Smoked Duck Salad, followed by Deep-fried Seabass with Yuzu Soya and Sakura Ebi Sauce. Next comes Fried Rice with Yam, Prawn, and Chinese Sausages, and finally, Black Glutinous Rice with Vanilla Ice Cream.
Where Marina Bay Sands
When Mott 32: 20 to 26 September | RISE: 15 to 21 September
How much Mott 32: $168++ per person | RISE: $52++ per person
Featured image: Sun Yat Sen Nanyang Memorial Hall, courtesy of National Heritage Board