In case you need reminding, we have a long weekend this week in Hong Kong! The land of the oh-so generous public holidays has striked again! Mid-Autumn festival is upon us. But what is this festival you ask? Here is your quick guide to the carnival of Lanterns and why it is so significant for our local counterparts.
The Mid-Autumn festival – or Lantern Festival as it become more commonly known – will take place this coming weekend with Thursday September 15th being the day of note. The festival is always held on the 15th day of the eighth – normally the 8th full moon on the lunar calendar. The festival celebrates three fundamental concepts in Chinese culture – gathering, thanksgiving and praying. The holiday is a time for family to come together. It is said the moon is the brightest and roundest on this which means family reunion. Traditionally, families gathered to celebrate the bountiful harvesting season – similar to the American Thanksgiving holiday. In modern times, families use the time to come together and celebrate. Prayers are often said at this time for babies, your spouse, for beauty, longevity and good fortune.
And what of those lanterns? A notable part of celebrating this holiday is the carrying of brightly lit lanterns. Traditionally the lantern was used to symbolize fertility however today the lantern has come to symbolize the festival itself. Market stalls throughout Hong Kong are selling them with Sheung Wan in full abundance – everything from your favourite Disney character to football team!
If you haven’t experienced a lantern festival before, and you are hanging around town this weekend, I highly recommend you getting your hands on a lantern and hitting up a beach or large public space. It’s pretty spectacular.
Enjoy the long weekend and happy Mid-Autumn Festival Hong Kongers!