Mid-Autumn is just around the corner, and it’s one of Hong Kong’s most beautiful cultural festivals.
It’s a time to chill out with family and take life down a notch. It also offers a public holiday and that is never a bad thing. For those new to the city, it’s a great way to get the whole family immersed in some Hong Kong culture.
So what’s Mid-Autumn all about?
Mid-Autumn festival is a long-held tradition, dating back to the Tang dynasty around 600AD. It’s traditionally a harvest festival and is noted as one of the most important festivals of the year. So get involved!
Through the ages, Mid-Autumn Festival has been about gathering with family to make offerings to the heavens for a great harvest. The occasion shared a dual function, with family members working away from home, often returning to celebrate with their extended family.
Mid-Autumn is about being grateful for what you have – your relationships and your fortunes. Awwwww, it’s a feel-good holiday, our favourite type.
Of course, Hong Kong puts a modern, innovative twist on all this traditional. Traditional Mid-Autumn elements are ever-present, they’ve just had a facelift.
This year look out for these must-haves:
Lanterns: This is the Insta-worthy money shot. Cue cute photos of kids with lanterns. Kids love love love this part of Mid-Autumn, and so do we. Your local neighbourhood will probably have lanterns on display and some areas even put on a mini-carnival. Check out the guide below for the best places in town. You’ll be able to buy lanterns everywhere, try the lanes or even your local Fusion. If you go cheap, get a few back-up lanterns because the lights can be a bit delicate and little rough hands may mean you go through a few by the end of the night.
Mooncakes: You’ve probably already started to see them everywhere, even in places like Starbucks. That’s how important they are. Mooncakes are like the James Bond of Chinese pastries, it’s said they were used by Yuan dynasty revolutionaries to pass secret messages. They have a distinct taste, thanks to their embedded egg yolks surrounded by lotus seed paste. They’re very strong, so if you’re new to Mooncakes, know you only need a slice of one. Check out our recommendations below for a modern twist on mooncakes the kids will love.
Fire Dragon Dance: This is one element the kids will embrace. The fire dragon dance is a relative new-comer to the Mid-Autumn line up. We have the people of Tai Hang village to thank for this awesome spectacle. They miraculously stopped a plague with a fire dragon dance back in the 19th Century and the powers that be were so impressed, they decided it was a new tradition.
Get out and get involved in the revelry
Tai Hang Fire Dragon Dance
Ohhh the excitement! Check out the list of Fire Dragon Dances here or head to Tai Hang, Causeway Bay from 26-28 Sep 2015. It all happens around 8:15- 10:30pm (26 & 28 Sep) and 8:15- 10pm (27 Sep). The Hong Kong Tourism Board have tipped Sassy Mamas off and tell us the best vantage point is Wun Sha Street.
Head to the Hong Kong Cultural Centre Piazza in TST and check out the beautiful lanterns on display. For those that live on the Island, catch the Star Ferry across and meander over.
It’s on from 10 September to 18 October 2015 (6:30pm to 11:00pm).
There are Lantern Carnivals right across the city from Shatin to Causeway Bay. Victoria Park, Causeway Bay, is the money shot for Lantern Carnivals. The spectacle will run from 23-28 September, but the 27th is your best bet.
Picnics are the new black and there’s no better time to get out of the house and treat the kids to some moon gazing. It’s great weather to head to the beach for a night picnic, Discovery Bay’s Tai Pak Wan beach is always great fun for families. If you’re picnicking, remove all the stress and indulge in one of Invisible Kitchen’s Mid-Autumn picnic baskets. You can mix and match some adult canapés with kid-friendly foods like Croque Monsieurs, Chocolate Mooncakes and macarons. Yum!
Mid-Autumn Gifts & Experiences
Gifting is a BIG part of Mid-Autumn festival, never turn up empty handed. If you’re looking for Mooncake gifts, look no further than The Langham and Duddell’s for Mooncakes that are sure to impress. Duddell’s have teamed with Michelin-starred Chef Siu Hin Chi to create a limited edition range. This year, Langham is bringing back the traditional white lotus seed mooncake and the highly popular custard mooncakes. For kids, Haagen-Dazs’ Mooncake Ice-creams are a great option, they come in less traditional flavours the kids will gobble up.
For those lucky enough to escape to Macau for the weekend, The Ritz-Carlton and JW Marriott have beautifully luxe Mooncake packages that are almost too good to eat. They’ll make beautiful keepsakes for those on short-term contracts in Hong Kong.
For coffee lovers, Nespresso has partnered with the Ritz-Carlton Hong Kong and is offering a complimentary Mooncake and Coffee pairing experience at all three boutiques for their Club Members. Great pit stop if you’re shopping.
For those that love to shop and dine out, be sure to check in with the credit card provider, they often offer special dining and shopping deals that are Mid-Autumn inspired. If you’re buying Mooncakes for the office or friends, you can also get special deals. Mastercard are offering discounts on flowers, edible arrangements and more.
Mid-Autumn Mini Breaks
For a lot of us, a public holiday means a chance to escape Hong Kong for a mini-break. Hurrah! This year is no different, and with National Day in the same week, it’s the perfect way to get a full week’s vacation for just three annual leave days.
The easiest way is to book a package via Flight Centre or Cathay Pacific Holidays. That takes the guess work out of all the planning, and places like Flight Centre are great if you’re in a group, they can also organise car hire.
Macau is close and full of options for those that don’t want to battle an airport. For those who want to indulge in a Mid-Autumn date night, The Ritz-Carlton’s spectacular Lai Heen restaurant is hosting a special Mid-Autumn dinner. Fancy!
If you’re the organised type, pre-select some fancy Mooncake gifts or Osmanthus scented perfume via the DFS website . Then you can simply drop by and pick it up at the airport as you head to the gate. Much easier than last minute duty-free shopping with kids in tow.
Happy Mid-Autumn to you, Sassy Mama!