Mid-Autumn Festival 2021: Fun Family Activities & Experiences!

Where to go and what to do this mooncake season.

By Mandy Lim Beitler      10 September 2021

The Chinese Mid-Autumn Festival falls on September 21 this year. There’s no better way to celebrate this moonlit season than by spending quality time taking lantern walks, getting hands-on, and sharing fulfilling cultural experiences together with loved ones. Do visit the locations’ websites for safe distancing information before you go!

(L-R) Chinatown, Gardens by the Bay, Sun Yat Sen Nanyang Memorial Hall

Luminous Lantern Displays

From September 7 to October 5, take a walk through Chinatown and be entranced by no less than 900 sculptural lantern pieces depicting the Jade Rabbit, mooncakes, and other traditional festive elements. You can’t miss the 12-metre-tall showpiece located opposite Chinatown Point, which sees the legendary moon goddess Chang’e ascending to the moon.

Of course, those familiar with Chinese folklore will know that the Jade Rabbit is her dearest companion. Drop by the Sun Yat Sen Nanyang Memorial Hall from now till September 26 to meet four oversized lantern creatures created by acclaimed Thai artist Ngaew Ngaew. His newest Moon Rabbit character was designed just for the occasion.

There’s more to admire at Gardens by the Bay from September 15 to October 3, with a fairytale scene of sky lanterns floating up to the full moon hovering in a Supertree being one of the main highlights. Over in the Flower Dome – you guessed it – more adorable rabbit-shaped lanterns spread festive cheer!

(L-R) Rainforest Lumina, Moonfest 2021

Make Your Own Lanterns

There’s nothing more precious than little ones carefully trying to balance a lantern on a stick, don’t you think? Capture such memories this festive season as you explore the Singapore Zoo after dark with Rainforest Lumina’s Creature Crew. Begin the adventure by designing your own lanterns to help light your path to the Insta-worthy Moon Bridge, LED playground, and more.

You can also take part in lantern-making sessions and other parent-child workshops at the Esplanade during Moonfest 2021. Guided by local artist Foo Hui Wen, you’ll discover different legends surrounding our beloved moon bunny while transforming simple craft materials into your very own lantern.

Prefer to DIY at home? Award-winning Singapore artist Tan Kay Nguan will demonstrate how to turn used plastic bottles into lanterns in an online workshop hosted by popular YouTuber Ghib Ojisan. Explore using more upcycled materials in another lantern-making tutorial conducted by Event Arts in conjunction with the Wan Qing Mid-Autumn Festival. In the meantime, these instructional videos should get your creative juices flowing.

(L-R) Commune Kitchen, DJ Siau Jiahui, Kele

Make Your Own Mooncakes

No Mid-Autumn Festival is complete without enjoying mooncakes and tea with loved ones. It gets even better when those are mooncakes you’ve made yourself. Just follow this tried-and-tested recipe for traditional baked mooncakes, complete with tutorial video, courtesy of cooking school Commune Kitchen.

Or how about trying your hand at making lychee osmanthus snowskin mooncakes? Chef Hung from homegrown bakery Kele will show you how in a step-by-step interactive class that will be streamed live on Facebook, as well as via Zoom for those who purchase the baking kit. You’ll also get to learn about the fine art of tea appreciation with experts from heritage tea specialists Pek Sin Choon.

If the little ones want to know how mooncake-making came about, have them join an interactive storytelling session online with Mediacorp YES 933 deejay Siau Jiahui. She’ll be engaging them with popular children’s books ‘Let’s Make Mooncakes’ and ‘The Monkeys Who Tried to Catch the Moon’.

(L-R) Foshan Cantonese Opera Troupe, Taipei Puppet Theater

Immersive Cultural Experiences

Heading to Gardens by the Bay to view the lantern displays during the weekend? Drop by the Flower Field Hall to catch a series of cultural performances. These will also be live streamed on their Facebook page for those celebrating at home.

Chinese lantern riddles are another time-honoured way of marking the Mid-Autumn Festival. This year, the Riddle Association goes live online to present the ancient tradition. Master basic riddle-solving techniques and pit your wits against fellow ‘keyboard warriors’. Tickle your brain further as even more lantern riddle videos are dropped every Monday, with the answers revealed the following Saturday.

Last but not least, look forward to a series of traditional Chinese performances in the digital edition of Moonfest 2021. While the kids giggle at the antics of Sun Wukong in a traditional hand puppetry show by the Taipei Puppet Theater, the older generation will appreciate the Foshan Cantonese Opera Troupe’s acrobatic performance of ‘Battle of the Xiaoshang River’. These and more will be available on Esplanade Offstage and Facebook after they premiere on September 17.

How will you celebrate this Mid-Autumn Festival? Share with us at magnsman@sph.com.sg!