East Asia preps for moon viewing at mid-Autumn festivals

Countries across East Asia are gearing up for a 'golden week' of travel and festivities surrounding the year's biggest lunar event.

Hong Kong's Tai Hang Fire Dragon Dance / Image courtesy of Hong Kong Tourism Board.

Hong Kong's Tai Hang Fire Dragon Dance / Image courtesy of Hong Kong Tourism Board.

In China and Taiwan, the festival is known as Mid-Autumn Festival, while in Japan it's known as Tsukimi and in Korea, Chuseok. On the lunar calendar, the 15th day of the eighth month (this year, 27 September) marks the biggest and brightest full moon – a supermoon – of the year. In 2015, this supermoon is made extra-special, as it will be accompanied by a full lunar eclipse (visible mostly in North America and Europe) – the last one for another 18 years.

Mid-Autumn Festival is celebrated throughout the region with moon-viewing parties, the eating of special snacks (for example, mooncakes in China, Taiwan and Hong Kong) and, in many places, lantern festivals. It is a time when locals herald the autumn season by donning jackets, lighting paper lanterns and gazing at the moon. Here's a small roundup of some moon- and lantern-related festivals and events across the region.

 

Hong Kong

Hong Kong hosts arguably the most impressive Mid-Autumn lantern festival in the region. Giant cloth lanterns are erected in venues across the city – this year's main event will be a lantern carnival held in Victoria Park, where many groups gather to light their own hand-held paper lanterns and gaze at the moon. There is also an annual Fire Dragon Dance (26-28 September), where a giant fiery dragon made of burning incense sticks is paraded through Tai Hang to the clash of cymbals and pounding drums. Read more: discoverhongkong.com 

 

Mid autumn festival Hong Kong

Mid autumn festival Hong Kong Image by doctorho / CC BY-SA 2.0

Taiwan

In Taipei, groups gather at parks including Daan Park and Danshui Fisherman's Wharf, as well as several riverside parks, for the best moon viewing vantages. Many parks will also host performances and public karaoke. Moon-viewing snacks include mooncakes and pomelos. Read more: focustaiwan.tw 

 

China

Mid-Autumn Festival will be celebrated all over mainland China with lantern festivals and the eating of mooncakes, a traditional autumn snack. The Summer Palace in Beijing is hosting a display of several 100-year-old osmanthus trees, which bloom in autumn. Locals can be found in parks and along riversides around the country lighting paper lanterns and eating mooncakes. Read more: chinadaily.com.cn 

 

Mid autumn festival in Hong Kong

Mid autumn festival in Hong Kong Image by doctorho / CC BY-SA 2.0

Japan

In Japan, traditional celebrations involve gathering to view the moon over sweet dumplings and sake. A variety of moon-viewing events will be held around the country. In Kyoto, special dances and traditional music performances will be held at several shrines to celebrate the autumn harvest moon. Read more: kyotoguide.com 

 

South Korea

Palaces and museums around Seoul will be open free-of-charge from 26-29 September. A traditional Korean gugak concert will be held at Deoksugung Palace on Sunday evening, and other museums will be hosting a variety of entertainment, performances and activities throughout the weekend. Read more: koreaherald.com 

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