Every year, Mooncake Festivals are celebrated by millions of people worldwide. As it is a Chinese festival, this tradition is mostly observed by Chinese people in Asia. Besides feasting on mooncakes and playing lanterns, there are many things that people like to do to celebrate the Mooncake Festival.
What is Mid-Autumn (Mooncake) Festival?
Mid-Autumn Festival is the more common name of Mooncake Festival. It falls on the 15th day of the 8th lunar month according to Chinese calendar. The term mid-autumn is used because the 15th day is in the middle of the month and the 8th lunar month falls in the middle of the autumn season.
Quick Mooncake Festival Facts
The Mooncake or Mid-Autumn Festival falls on 1st October this year.
The festival originated from a moon worship more than 3,000 years ago
The one thing that people can’t do without at the festival each year is obviously the wide variety and assortment of mooncakes to savour our taste buds!
Fun things to do during the Mooncake Festival
People typically gather with their family members and loved ones as well as friends to admire the full moon while digging into delicious mooncakes accompanied by fragrant chinese tea.
Kids usually will be out in parks or around the neighbourhoods with creatively designed lanterns.
There are also a number of interesting places to visit in Singapore during the festival, each with their own unique take on how to celebrate the festival and bring the atmosphere to life.
Why do we celebrate the Mooncake Festival?
In ancient times, the Moon Festival was celebrated by people during the right time of harvest, when crops were ripe. Chinese emperors of that time would worship the moon during the autumn season to give thanks for the great harvest they received.
Ordinary folks also took to the Mid-Autumn Festival to celebrate their industrious effort with the harvest results they made. This continued to this day, when people feasted on Moon Festival with family reunions.
When The Moon Festival Become A Festival
Spanning a history of more than 3,000 years, the Mid-Autumn Festival had its beginnings from the moon worshipping customs done during the Shang Dynasty period (circa 1600 to 1046 BC). It became more prominent as a national festival since the Northern Song Dynasty (960 to 1127 AD).
Popular beliefs do get adopted throughout the years that follow. One popular belief is that people believe worshipping the moon and eating around a round table in a group would bring them luck and happiness.
How is the Mooncake Festival celebrated in Singapore?
Singaporeans are majority Chinese in heritage. Thus, during the Mooncake Festival, they take the tradition seriously as a Chinese tradition, just like other Chinese occasions such as Chinese New Year and Dragon Boat Festival.
The Mooncake Festival in Singapore is celebrated with mooncakes, lanterns and family gatherings. It is about appreciating the full moon in the night sky.
So when dusk sets upon the sky in Singapore, celebrations would go full force and revelers would hold moon viewing parties to celebrate this yearly occasion. Many Singaporeans would love to go to outdoor gardens at night with their paper lanterns and mooncake savoury sessions.
The most common place is the traditional Chinese Garden. But there are many other places worth noting and they are mentioned below.
How is the Mooncake Festival celebrated in Southeast Asia?
Apart from Singapore, Mooncake Festival is also celebrated in other Southeast Asian countries with huge Chinese diaspora, such as Malaysia, Indonesia, Vietnam and Thailand.
In Vietnam, it is known as Tet Trung Thu. The Vietnamese delicacy is the traditional mooncake flavour called Thap Cam, which is a mixture of 10 different ingredients, including Chinese sausage, pork or chicken floss and salted egg.
There are additional celebratory styles in Vietnam. Children don masks to scare the tiger spirit away, as it is believed that it can eat up a whole moon and leave behind an eclipse.
Another Southeast Asian country of interest is Thailand. Mooncake Festival is celebrated on the same night. The Thais use peach-shaped cakes as offerings to the Bodhisattva and all the family members, young and old, would sit round the table and worship and exchange greetings with the offerings.
Malaysian celebrations of the Mooncake Festival strike more commonalities with the Singaporean ones. The only difference is the size of their celebrations due to larger land space, whereby they have more lion and dragon dances and car parades that are fanciful beside the usual Chinese lantern parades. More shopping malls also set up special counters to sell mooncakes.
How is the Mooncake Festival celebrated in China?
According to Chinese customs, people in China celebrate Mooncake Festival in dinner gatherings by sharing mooncakes, displaying lanterns, worshipping the moon and other social activities according to location.
Different Chinese cities have different ways of celebrating the festival. Shanghai people would uniquely offer food and paintings to the moon, use moon altars and burn incense cups as offerings and walk under moonlight at the famous Lujia Stone Bridge.
In Guangzhou, some of their unique customs of celebrating the Mooncake Festival are feasting on river snails and bathing under moonlight with hopes of finding their partner as they believe the moon is their matchmaker.
People across China have common food besides mooncakes. They would often also eat harvest foods, such as pumpkins, crabs and grapes. There are auspicious beliefs on feasting them at their most nutritious and freshest and the food must be round in shape.
What to do in Singapore during the Mooncake Festival?
Celebrations would occur all around the island, particularly at Chinatown with a Chinese heritage and a heavily populated Chinese area. Large beautiful lanterns would be on display to light up the cheers at this popular tourist spot. The lanterns not only blend in the festive mood, but also exhibit displays of creativity, artistic talent and craftsmanship.
Apart from beautiful lantern displays, there are also good sampling of mooncakes and Chinese teas at the night bazaars along the streets. Street performances at night and painting competitions also add to the vibrancy at Chinatown. Come down to Chinatown from 19 September to 16 October 2020 to witness the light up.
Moonfest is an important mid-autumn celebration held at Esplanade – Theatres on the Bay. This yearly arts festival has many folk arts performances, such as Chinese puppetry and opera and a family fun with the lantern walkabout.
Gardens By The Bay is the new Chinese Garden if you want a total new experience with outdoor celebration of mooncake festival. It has a huge exciting showcase of cultural performances and food street.
Mooncake Festival 2020 – best and new mooncake flavours for Mid-Autumn Festival this year
2020 is another exciting year for the Mooncake Festival. This year, it falls on 1st October 2020, which is the 15th day of the 8th lunar month. Mooncakes gifts are more suitable this time, given the current situation.
If you want to get mooncake gifts this Mid-Autumn Festival, you can place your orders early to get early bird discounts. Below are the list of places where you can get your mooncake gifts:
One of the best places to get your mooncakes in Singapore this season is Bread Garden, a popular bakery that doles out yummy festive treats whenever one rolls around the corner.
Bread Garden has been delighting fans and customers over the years with their signature MSW (Mao Shang Wang) durian mooncakes as well as exquisite snow skin mooncakes besides the more traditional baked ones.
Bread Garden mooncakes are also a favourite among local Muslims because all mooncakes are halal certified as Bread Garden is one of the first halal bakeries in Singapore.
Well reviewed by customers who bought, Bread Garden is definitely a brand to check out this mooncake festival if you’re in the mood for some mooncake indulgence.
Another outlet for the best of the traditional taste in mooncakes can be found here in Hong Lim complex outside Chinatown Point shopping mall. Having existed for 90 years, this shop has drawn crowds even from tourists from the West, as well as from South Korea and China.
Best known for their tau sar piah kueh, Poh Guan also serves good old mooncakes during the Mooncake Festival.There are a huge range from the traditional Cantonese to the traditional Teochew mooncakes.
One of their best known is the white sesame mooncake, which is rare in today’s mooncake scene in Singapore. The Cantonese mooncake is also their star product. It is filled with lotus paste and salted egg yolk in the core. All their mooncakes are still baked by hand in the traditional methods, unchanged since they started operations in 1930.
Hai Tien Lo – Pan Pacific Singapore
If you yearn for a more hip and modern type of mooncake, then choose Hai Tien Lo for their black sesame paste mooncake with great filling in it.
You can read more about their mooncakes here.
Goodwood Park Hotel
The Premium Duo: Mao Shan Wang and Black Thorn Durian Snow-Skin Mooncakes is the star buy of this eatery when it comes to mooncakes. It serves the one of the best durian mooncakes in Singapore. Read more about why it is so.
This popular Michelin-awarded roast duck joint from Hong Kong also serves great unique mooncakes that you can use as mooncake gift sets for your loved ones.
Their unique offering is the first-ever roast duck mooncake in Singapore. It is filled with Michelin-quality roast duck, melon seed, olive seeds, sesame seeds, walnut and almond. And the best part – the mooncake is traditionally baked as well!
Li Bai – Sheraton Towers
If you are up for some delicious snow skin mooncakes for their cold soft texture of the mooncake skin, then head down to Sheraton Towers at Li Bai restaurant.
Its best mooncake is the black truffle sea salt dark chocolate mooncake. Available in gift sets, you can make your pre order from now until the festival.
Lately, Raffles Hotel seems to be another contender for mooncakes, not just for the hotels’ own box designs, but for their unique flavours too.
Winning hearts of mooncake fans from Raffles Hotel is the Snow skin mooncake. It comes with Champagne Truffle and Ganache. It is so sinful that it sells like hot cakes during the Mooncake Festival.
What drives eaters crazier is the core of the mooncake – the chocolate center. Although the snow skin exterior looks plain white only, once you bite into the cake piece, you do not only taste the chocolateness of the mooncake. You also get to taste the soft and delicious ganache and the truffle flavour that replete your mouth.
Crowne Plaza Changi Airport
Changi Airport is not just a transit for tourists or foreign business travellers. It is also a place of wonders. Crowne Plaza features mooncakes baked by Bing Liang Bakery.
Scoring high in its traditional mooncakes, Crowne Plaza also has assorted champagne truffle snow skin mooncakes that delight eaters. These mooncakes are handcrafted. With such traditional skills using high quality ingredients. Hence, it seems that the good old taste certainly does not fade away easily.
The snow skin mooncakes come in 4 flavours – red date, pandan, black sesame and a chestnut flavoured mooncake. All have champagne truffles in the centre.
Bakerzin is more well-known for its durian mooncakes on its shelves. With one of the best durian mooncake in Singapore, read more about why it ticks.
Mdm Ling Bakery
If you are in love with Shanghai mooncakes, which is up and coming among mooncake lovers in Singapore, then check out Mdm Ling Bakery.
What is so lovable about their mooncakes is the unique shape and sizes inspired by the old sampan boats of the past. Their internal buttery crust and fillings of red bean, pandan and lotus paste flavours are certainly addictive for indulgents.
What do you think of the mooncake festival? What are your thoughts on the above?
Whatever your thoughts are on our list of the mooncake festival has to offer, let us know what you think and comment below!