Light the lanterns, munch on mooncakes and peel a pomelo! Mid-Autumn Festival is here in Singapore.
Who else loves that Singapore is a multicultural city? From having three religious monuments side by side on one street (looking at you, Chinatown!) to celebrating festivals like Chinese New Year, Hari Raya Puasa and Deepavali, we’re a cultural bunch. Come 29 September 2023, we’re prepping for the Mid-Autumn Festival in Singapore. Here’s everything you need to know…
What’s the significance of the Mid-Autumn Festival?
Also known as Mooncake Festival, the Mid-Autumn Festival falls on the 15th day of the eighth lunar month (autumn season), hence the moniker. It marks the end of the autumn harvest and the Hungry Ghost Festival, and was traditionally a time of thanksgiving to the gods.
This 2,000-odd-year-old festival is also believed to originate from the tradition of worshipping the moon during the Song Dynasty. To celebrate, families and friends come together for moon-viewing parties (it’s known to shine the brightest during this period), with lanterns, mooncakes and autumn fruits like pomelo.
The folklore that has us over the moon
Just like many festivals, the Mid-Autumn Festival is rife with mythical stories. The most bittersweet and popular folklore follows the Moon Goddess, Chang’e. Her husband Hou Yi was a Chinese archer who saved the world from burning to ashes by shooting down nine blazing suns, leaving just one.
He was rewarded with an elixir of immortality but decided not to consume it to be with his wife. Knowing about the elixir, a greedy apprentice Peng Meng broke into Hou Yi’s house but was caught by Chang’e. In a turn of events, Chang’e drank the elixir and floated to the moon.
Left alone on earth, the devastated Hou Yi prepared a feast each year when the moon glowed the brightest, just to catch a glimpse of his wife. It soon turned into a tradition of offering worship to the Moon Goddess.
Mid-Autumn Festival in Singapore
The festivities often begin from September to October. Enjoy an array of light-ups around the city, delish mooncakes (these signify family reunion) and magical moon-viewing parties filled with lanterns at your nearest park. Hotels and restaurants begin the sale of mooncakes as early as two months before the main event, so get your orders in! Psst: you’ll love our roundup of traditional and unique mooncakes.
Exciting events for Mid-Autumn Festival 2023
1. Mid-Autumn Festival at Gardens By The Bay
15 September – 1 October 2023
You can always expect Gardens by the Bay to put up show-stopping displays to wow us during any festive season. And the Mid-Autumn Festival is no different. Set to the theme of Garden of Blooms – to celebrate reunions between loved ones – the vibrant lantern display is inspired by Chinese myths and legends. Enter the Flower Dome to admire the Chrysanthemum Charm floral showcase. You’ll feast your eyes on 80 varieties of the flower, including more than 10 new ones that make their Southeast Asian debut. They’ll sit alongside a life-sized Mongolian yurt made specially for the event.
Dotting the gardens, you’ll find nine glowing lantern sets including Garden of Blooms at Golden Garden, the Pavilion at Supertree Grove (where you’ll enjoy free cultural performances over the weekends), the Butterfly Lovers near the Floral Clock, and Colonnade of Lights featuring 1,000 hand-painted lanterns by the walkway along Supertree Grove.
Plus, look forward to Asian street fare at the Food Street in Supertree Grove and cultural workshops in the Cannonball Room. Don’t forget to snap up the first-ever Gardens by the Bay mooncake sets, made in collaboration with The Capitol Kempinski Hotel Singapore! Floral flavours include rose macadamia and chrysanthemum melon seed.
Mid-Autumn Festival at Gardens By The Bay, 6pm – 10pm, 18 Marina Gardens Drive, Singapore 018953
2. Chinatown Mid-Autumn Festival
15 September – 14 October 2023
We can’t imagine a better place to celebrate the Mid-Autumn Festival than Chinatown. Expect the usual iconic light installations and a boatload of exciting activities to do. Set to the theme of ‘A Journey of Love and Celebration’, this year’s festival design follows three chapters along New Bridge Road and Eu Tong Sen Street.
Start off with the Passing of Wishes and Tales, a nod to Chang’E and her story. Next, Gathering and Preparing the Celebration shows the city’s multicultural side. Finally, Celebrating Love and Having Fun Together spotlights sweet scenes of families and rabbits sharing lantern blessings.
Of course, you can’t miss the highlight: an 8m-tall diorama at Eu Tong Sen Street. Other activities include the Chinatown Lantern Walk, the Food Fair at Smith Street, free weekend stage performances at Kreta Ayer Square, and the Lantern Painting Competition.
Chinatown Mid-Autumn Festival, multiple locations in Chinatown
3. Wan Qing Mid-Autumn Festival 2023
29 August – 1 October 2023
The team at Sun Yat Sen Memorial Hall never fails to amaze us with the annual Wan Qing Mid-Autumn Festival activities. Check out A Mid-Autumn Paw-trait, an epic outdoor installation presented in partnership with toymaker 52Toys’ Panda Roll series. Those two giant panda lanterns will make a perfect backdrop for all your family pics.
Oh, and don’t miss out on the Open House (23 and 24 September) for activities by the various clan associations in Singapore. Highlights include a Hokkien music workshop, a Teochew cultural trail, panda lantern-making workshops and more.
Wan Qing Mid-Autumn Festival 2023, Sun Yat Sen Nanyang Memorial Hall, 12 Tai Gin Road, Singapore 327874
4. The Race Around The Moon
23 September 2023
A treat for little ones aged five to ten, this original play revolves around the characters Chang’e, Jade Rabbit, and Wu Gang. After spending years on the moon, the trio now have a shot at returning to Earth… but only the winner of the race around the moon can take the trip. Will their friendship prevail?
Besides the performance, Gateway Kids Club is also featuring moon-themed tales in its September storytelling sessions. Look forward to stories like The King Who Banned The Dark and The Brave Girl and the Fireflies every Saturday morning – just register via Sistic for free.
The Race Around The Moon, 2pm & 5pm, Sky Garden, Gateway Theatre, 3615 Jalan Bukit Merah, Singapore 159461
5. Mid-Autumn Family Fun
29 September – 1 October 2023
A partnership between the Singapore Chinese Cultural Centre and the Singapore Chinese Orchestra, this three-day festival offers 14 family-friendly activities set to the theme of Modern Traditions to encourage everyone to celebrate the festival with a contemporary twist.
Enjoy a makers’ market, guided lantern walks, star-gazing sessions, food trucks, performances, storytelling fun and more. Plus, look forward to giveaways for lanterns, coffee and tea with traditional Mid-Autumn piglet baskets, as well as free ice cream, popcorn, candy floss, cookies and biscuits. If you purchase four tickets to any of the events, you can also redeem a complimentary limited edition tote bag.
Mid-Autumn Family Fun, Singapore Chinese Cultural Centre and Singapore Conference Hall, 1 Straits Boulevard, Singapore 018906 and 7 Shenton Way, Singapore 068810
6. Nex x Tangs Mid-Autumn Fair
8 – 29 September 2023
Go mooncake shopping at Nex to seek out traditional creations and new flavours. You’ll find brands like Bread Garden, Gin Thye, Home’s Favourite, Ju Signatures, Mdm Ling Bakery, La Levain, and My Mum’s Cookies on the lineup. Plus, earn Nexpoints by spending a minimum of $20 on a single receipt at the fair and scanning the Nexrewards members’ QR code.
Nex x Tangs Mid-Autumn Fair, Atrium Level 1, Nex, 23 Serangoon Central, Singapore 556083
7. One Punggol Mid-Autumn Celebrations & Lantern Walk
29 September 2023
Celebrate the family-friendly way with cultural performances, lion and dragon dances, and a lantern walk for little ones on 29 September. Or pop by One Punggol from now till then to admire the giant art installation made of 1,000 hand-painted lanterns.
One Punggol Mid-Autumn Celebrations & Lantern Walk, 5pm – 9pm, 1 Punggol Drive, Singapore 828629
Now that you’ve got all the deets, are you excited to celebrate the Mid-Autumn Festival in Singapore this year? We sure are!