China, Vietnam, Hong Kong and Taiwan are preparing to celebrate the mid-autumn festival this Sunday the 30th of September.
For China this represents what is being dubbed as the “Super Golden Week” as the Chinese National Day falls straight after the mid-autumn festival on Monday 1 October, representing an extra-long holiday break.
The mid-autumn lunar festival date varies each year according to the lunar calendar and is held on the 15th day of the 8th month according to the Chinese calendar. The China National Day Holiday is akin to the July 4th celebration in the USA. The holiday is not so family focussed as Chinese New Year and it’s predicted that many will travel overseas to make the most of the extended break.
Top destinations include the USA cities of New York, Los Angeles and Las Vegas where shopping for luxury goods is stated as a popular pastime.
The festival is also called the Mooncake Festival as mooncakes are traditionally eaten around the holiday period. Mooncakes are distinctive and look much like a western pie and contain a thick super-rich filling which is traditionally made from lotus seed paste or red beans (like many Chinese dishes). Mooncakes are sold almost everywhere during the festival with gift boxed versions available in high-end shops for hundreds of dollars. These are presented as business gifts and to friends and family and are meant to be enjoyed in small slices with traditional Chinese tea. And a word of warning for travelling dieters; mooncakes can contain over 1,000 calories each!
Other traditional activities include matchmatching for men and women to find love, casting lit lanterns into the sky, traditional dragon dances and burning incense.
Vietnam will also mark the mid-autumn festival, aka Tết Trung Thu, with recounting of stories, square mooncakes and lion dances as a blessing of luck and fortune.
Hong Kong will celebrate with a three day Tai Hang Fire Dragon Dance which has been performed for hundreds of years. There will also be a giant Kum Lee Lantern Wonderland again this year with a Golden Moon as the centrepiece – you can watch the video above to see the amazing 18 meter tall lantern being constructed of bamboo, steel and a multitude of LED lights. The Wonderland is being held at Causeway Bay’s Victoria Park on Hong Kong Island and is free to explore until 2 October.
By Julie Bowman