Public holidays strike fear into the hearts of us mamas… Sure, we talk a good game about there being SO much to do in Hong Kong with kids, but give us a whole day to fill (especially one coming so close after the weekend) and we’re sure to be hitting up google the night before trying to scrape a plan together to get us out of the house. Thankfully, Mid-Autumn Festival (or technically, the day AFTER Mid-Autumn Festival) is a public holiday that comes with plenty of events that are kid-suitable. Hurrah!
Mid-Autumn festival celebrates the harvest, the largest, brightest moon of the year, and also a 14th Century uprising against the Mongol hordes. The rebels wrote their plans for battle on pieces of paper hidden within specially made cakes which modern-day moon cakes now commemorate. For Mid-Autumn Festival, parents traditionally allow their kids to stay up late to release colourful laterns from high vantage points like The Peak.
Head to Victoria Park for the Lantern Wonderland (Ends Midnight on Tuesday)
A real crowd pleaser, you won’t be the only ones turning up to get a look at the amazing light installations on display at Victoria Park in Causeway Bay. This year the centrepiece is the largest sculpture made of lanterns in the world — a giant goldfish, with the scales made of individual lanterns. The fish is a very auspicious symbol in Chinese culture with its associations with prosperity, leaping forward and money. Admission is free and if you’re coming by MTR (the streets will be busy so we’d recommend it) exit from Causeway Bay Station Exit E, then walk along Great George Street (past Ikea) into the Park.
Tai Hang Fire Dragon Dance
A quintessential Hong Kong experience, head to the now super-up-and-coming area of Tai Hang for an event that is sure to give little ones a big thrill! The people of Tai Hang stopped a plague in the 19th Century by performing a dragon dance, and started a tradition which is repeated every year, involving 300 performers, 72,000 incense sticks and a 67-meter long dragon. Performed 7.30pm 12th September and 7.30pm-10.30pm on the 13th September in Tai Hang, and at 10.15-11.15pm in Victoria Park. Check out the Tai Hang Fire Dragon website for more details. If you’re a Southside mama, check out a similar Fire Dragon Dance that will be happening in Pok Fu Lam Village at from 6.30pm – 10.30pm on Monday 12th September.
Moongazing on The Peak
If you prefer a more sedate experience to get in touch with nature, why not take a hike up to The Peak to check out the moon (probably a good idea to take a look at the weather forecast first to make sure you’ll actually be able to see something through the clouds/smog!). Bring your mooncakes for munching (we love G.O.D’s cheeky take on the traditional) and enjoy a spot of moongazing.
Sassy tip: Discover Hong Kong has a rather fab website all about Mid-Autumn Festival with all the details of events on it, plus they’ve even created an iPhone app – how very web 2.0!