Celebrated each year on the fifteenth day of the eighth month in the Chinese lunar calendar, Singapore’s Mid-Autumn Festival just may be the country’s most anticipated cultural event after the national day parade. Attracting visitors from across the globe this glittering Chinese holiday is a much looked forward to event by all of Singapore’s multi-cultural population irrespective of race, religion or ethnicity. With its origins as a traditional harvest festival that also pays tribute to the Moon God, the festival has transformed into a family centred event enjoyed by Singaporeans of all ages.
With the full moon looming over the Lion City, the festival takes centre stage in the nation’s event calendar with special preparations being made in Chinatown where a majority of the country’s Chinese population is concentrated. Deriving its nickname from the lotus seed filled pastry delicacy that exchanges hands during this season, the festival also sees a surge in Chinese performing arts shows that typically take place at Chinatown’s Kreta Ayer Square during the festival period. Highlights at the nightly stage shows include breathtaking traditional performances that display the artistes’ agility, strength and discipline as well as the dedication and talent required to perfect such skilled art forms.
Riddle competitions are also a popular attraction during the Mid-Autumn Festival while workshops on making moon cakes, pomelo salad and other Chinese specialty skills such as calligraphy, lantern making and tea tasting are also conducted in and around Chinatown where the art of authentic Chinese cuisine is also explored with demonstrations.
The Mass Lantern Walk is also a highly anticipated event in the Mid-Autumn Festival as hundreds carry vibrant Chinese lanterns in a mesmerising candlelight procession though the moonlit streets of the city. Visitors are also welcome to bring their own lanterns along and join this illuminated parade that commences from the centre of Chinatown and heads towards Eu Tong Sen Street to end up alongside the Singapore River close to The Central in Clarke Quay. Stilt walkers, dragon dancers and traditional lion dancers also accompany the procession while guests are also encouraged to tour the Chinatown street bazaars for special festival produce during the season. This includes sweetened dates, Chinese paintings and handicrafts in addition to quirky souvenirs and Chinese gowns or cheongsams.
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Pushpitha Wijesinghe is an experienced independent freelance writer. He specializes in providing a wide variety of content and articles related to the travel hospitality industry.
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