Best time to go to Hong Kong

Mid-Autumn Festival 2024

This Mid-Autumn festival is probably the most charming and picturesque night of the year

Dates: September 17, 2024

Mid-Autumn Festival
Mid-Autumn Festival
Mid-Autumn Festival
Mid-Autumn Festival
Mid-Autumn Festival
Mid-Autumn Festival
Mid-Autumn Festival

Imagine colorful, radiant lanterns, fiery dragon dances, and captivating kung-fu demonstrations everywhere you go—this is how Hong Kong celebrates the Mid-Autumn Festival. This annual harvest celebration occurs throughout China on the 8th full moon of the Lunar Calendar, typically in September or October. The festival's main attractions include thousands of lantern displays, mesmerizing fire dragon dances, and folk performances, particularly at Victoria Park. It's a vibrant, all-in-one event offering a wide range of activities for visitors to enjoy.

Traditions

Traditionally, Chinese people express gratitude to the moon and celebrate the bountiful harvest. It's also a time to pray for better luck and engage in moon gazing. Most importantly, the Mid-Autumn Festival is a time for families to reunite and celebrate being together after time apart.

Moongazing

Admiring the full moon is a must, starting with welcoming the moon on the eve of Mid-Autumn, moon gazing on the night of the festival, and bidding farewell to the moon the following day. The best moon-gazing spots in Hong Kong include Sun Yat Sen Memorial Park, Victoria Park, Tamar Park, West Kowloon Art Park, and Hong Kong Park.

Mooncake

Mooncakes are the most famous tradition of the Mid-Autumn Festival. They originate from Yuan-dynasty, when the cookies were used to send secret messages. These round pastries embody the full moon, symbolizing unity and harmony. Traditionally, they contain lotus seed paste with a salted egg yolk center. In Hong Kong, you can find hundreds of varieties and unusual fillings to satisfy any taste bud.

Fire Dragon Dance

Another tradition—Fire Dragon Dance—emerged when people miraculously stopped a plague due to a fire dragon dance in Tai Hang village during the 19th century. Nowadays, it's recognized as a part of China's intangible cultural heritage. You will see a huge dragon, almost 70 meters long, and thousands of burning incense sticks held by performers, who circle the crowds of visitors. This tradition is part of China's cultural heritage and a major highlight of Mid-Autumn celebrations in Hong Kong.

Lantern Displays

Traditionally, children made and decorated their paper lanterns, but now many purchase them from the numerous lantern shops in the city. Lanterns can be electronic or traditional paper varieties. Another Mid-Autumn tradition involves solving lantern riddles with messages of wisdom and good fortune. Lantern displays are a hallmark of the festival, commonly found in parks and along the Harbourfront Shared Spaces, Tsim Sha Tsui promenade, and Lee Tung Avenue. Modern lanterns often feature LED lights, with Victoria Park hosting the largest Mid-Autumn lantern carnival.

Origins of Mid-Autumn Festival

The Mid-Autumn Festival's most famous legend is the story of Hou Yi and Chang'e. Hou Yi saved the earth by shooting down nine of ten suns and was rewarded with an elixir of immortality. When an apprentice tried to steal it, his wife Chang'e consumed the elixir, becoming immortal and ascending to the moon. She now resides there as the Moon Goddess with the Jade Rabbit, a motif central to the festival. Moon gazers still look for their shapes in the full moon's shadows.

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Authors: Sophia Andrus