It’s that time of year when you start to see little Chinese lanterns pop up in MTR stations and building lobbies and lines for bakeries to buy moon cakes are at an all-time high. Mid-Autumn festival is Hong Kong’s second largest celebrated holiday, behind Chinese New Years in February. It’s a harvest festival celebrated in Chinese and Vietnamese cultures and falls on the 15th day of the eighth month in the Chinese Han calendar. Hong Kong uses the Roman calendar for daily life and business, but festivals still fall in traditional Han calendar – old world meets new world.
Even though we are traveling outside of Hong Kong this year, we celebrated the Mid-Autumn festival in the city last year. We covered all the celebratory must-do’s: Victoria park for beautiful lantern displays and the carnival, then over to Tai Hang for the fire dragon dance, and ended the night with eating a traditional moon cakes.
The legend of the Fire Dragon dance was to ward off plague and misfortune after a terrible typhoon hit the village of Tai Hang. The villagers built a fire dragon from straw and sticks, and paraded it through the streets at night for three days, on the eve of Mid-Autumn festival.
Today the tradition is still carried on with a 67-meter Fire Dragon which takes over 300 handlers, 70,000 incense sticks and firecrackers. It’s such a cool sight to see (and a bit dangerous) as the handlers take turns carrying this massive and extremely heavy dragon through the crowds. With all the incense burning you have ash floating in the air, and people are even left with burn #warriorburns
Moon cakes are to Mid-Autumn festival as a chocolate bunny is to Easter. These are little round pastries that come in several varieties: more traditional lotus been-filled and egg yolks, to more contemporary custard filled. My company gives out moon cakes to everyone in the office as a sign of best wishes. Last year we went with the more traditional type, which were interesting. As we did our due diligence to try out the local variety, this year we are sticking to the Haagen Daz kind 🙂
Til next time..