3 Ways to Celebrate Mooncake Festival in While You're Abroad
It's not just about the mooncakes! (Though we still love 'em.) Read on to find out more about the folklore and the heritage behind this cherished festival.
What is the Mooncake Festival? It’s one of the biggest festivals in Chinese culture. The festival is also known as the Mid-Autumn Festival, and that namesake is easy enough to guess. The festival falls on the 15th day of the eighth month in the Chinese lunisolar calendar, which is the middle of autumn in the lunar calendar. On this day, the Moon is at its fullest and brightest. Whether you’re a business traveler or a digital nomad, you can still celebrate the Mid-Autumn Festival at your Singapore condo rental or your serviced apartment.
Why is the Mooncake Festival celebrated?
The earliest records show that there were traces of Moon worship as far back as the Shang Dynasty over 3,000 years ago. There is evidence showing that the festival started as a post Though it would take a couple more centuries before it became an official celebration during the Tang Dynasty. Fun fact: there are similar festivities in Korea and Japan too.
For the Chinese Diaspora, there is a myriad of folklores and legends that have transcended time. Many still re-tell these stories. The more popular legend is the lore of Hou Yi and Chang’e. Hou Yi, an archer with the Imperial Guard, saved the earth from scorching heat by shooting 9 of the 10 suns circling the planet. As a reward for his gallantry, he was given the elixir of immortality and was anointed as king. But one of his apprentices wanted the elixir and extorted Chang’e for it. So she swallowed the elixir and started floating away, and Hou Yi could only stare helplessly as she did.
She soon landed on the Moon, so she could stay close to her beloved husband. But Hou Yi was devastated at the loss, and he started to display fruits and cakes that Chang’e liked in the yard as sacrifices for her. People soon learned of it and began to do so, empathising with Hou Yi. Of course, like any legend, there are alternate versions too. There are also other popular folklores behind the Mid-Autumn Festival.
Celebrating Mooncake Festival When You’re Living Abroad
The Mooncake Festival falls on 10th September for this year. In Singapore, you can already feel the full swing of the festivities a month before. Shopping malls throng with stalls hawking other sweets and goodies alongside mooncakes, the lanterns casting a warm glow.
But if you’re thinking of just staying in your home away from home, there are plenty of ways to observe the occasion too. Here are 7 ways:
1. Call Your Family During The Mooncake Festival
Since the moon is said to be at its brightest during the festival, it takes on a special significance. It reflects hopes for bounty and completeness. That’s why there are traditions for family reunions during the Mooncake Festival too.
It’s a public holiday in China, and some families would have dinner together on the evening of the Mid-Autumn Festival. While there’s no holiday in Singapore, you could simply just drop a call to your family and loved ones. They’re sure to appreciate it.
2. Appreciating The Moon
The Chinese people would set up a table in the courtyard outside of their houses to admire the full moon. And families would play games too, getting the children to guess the shape of Chang’e on the Moon, or guessing all the different Chinese riddles too.
Whether you’re by yourself or with loved ones, you could just brew a cup of tea and sit by the window and just appreciate the moon’s beauty over some tea and traditional mooncakes. You could even find Osmanthus wine—a little-known tradition for the festival.
3. Making Colourful Lanterns
Making and hanging up colorful lanterns is probably one of the more exuberant Mid-Autumn Festival traditions. Legends say, that the higher the lanterns are, the luckier you’ll be. In Singapore, there are plenty of public spaces that’d hang and light up lanterns for the Mid-Autumn Festival Celebrations too. The most prominent of them would be at Chinatown.
If you’re staying at a service apartment, perhaps you could make a couple of homemade lanterns. The designs can range from the simple to the eco-friendly. Just imagine all the different lanterns by the windows, or throughout your fully-furnished living spaces. If you have shared spaces with other guests, you could even write riddles and have some company over to guess the answers. Guessing lantern riddles has over 1,500 years of history—back then single men and women would even look for ‘the one’ by guessing the riddles correctly.
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