September is all about the Mid-Autumn Festival, one of the most important events in the Chinese calendar, and a public holiday in Hong Kong.
The festival is traditionally a time of community spirit, when families get together and reunite, share meals, and express gratitude for a good harvest.
There are lots of activities and festivities taking place throughout the month of September, and if you’re in town during this time, be sure to head out and explore everything that’s going on.
Here is our round up of the best events to see and things to do during the Mid-Autumn Festival in Hong Kong.
Lantern displays and carnivals
Every night until September 22, in front of the iconic Hong Kong Cultural Centre Piazza in Tsim Sha Tsui, you can enjoy an Interactive Lighting Installation titled ‘Magic Behind the Moon’, plus a display of four incredible inflatable structures.
From September 11 to 15, Victoria Park in Causeway Bay hosts Hong Kong’s biggest and most famous grand lantern festival, with a carnival atmosphere, games, food, and, of course, beautiful large-scale lantern displays and light shows. The festivities start at 8 pm every night and finish at 11 pm, drawing huge crowds.
Sha Tin Park in the New Territories also holds a large New Territories East Mid-Autumn Lantern Carnival, from September 7 to 15, every night from 7:30 pm. This carnival also has cultural activities, folk crafts, traditional performances, and local food for sale.
If you happen to be closer to Tsuen Wan, head to Tsuen Wan Park for the New Territories West Mid-Autumn Lantern Carnival, on the night of September 15, to see beautiful lanterns and fun performances, starting from 6:30 pm.
Fire dragon dances
The Tai Hang Fire Dragon is an incredible spectacle that takes place in Causeway Bay on the nights of September 12–14. The 67-metre-long dragon is made of rattan, with more than 20,000 sticks of burning incense. It takes 300 adults to parade the massive dragon through Tai Hang. On September 13, after the parade, the fire dragon will be taken to Victoria Park at around 11 pm.
Tai Hang Fire Dragon
On the night of September 13, you can also catch another fire dragon dance, in the village of Pok Fu Lam, western Hong Kong Island. In this ceremony, the fiery dragon ‘dances’ its way down to the sea, and returns to its home in the water.
Aberdeen on the south side of Hong Kong island has another awesome fire dragon event, starting on Tsung Man Street and parading through the Aberdeen Old Main Street, and ending by the sea at Pok Fu Lam Waterfall Bay Park, where the dragon meets its watery end.
You must try mooncakes during the Mid-Autumn Festival—although we don’t necessarily recommend eating an entire one. This incredibly rich and dense dessert isn’t meant to be consumed on your own. After all, this is the time of community gatherings and meal sharing.
Traditionally, mooncakes are baked with whole egg yolks and lotus seed paste, with the top of the mooncake stamped with an auspicious message for good luck. It’s heavy, with a unique taste, as it’s not very sweet, and almost a bit salty.
People line up to buy special decorative tins of traditional mooncakes, and hand them out to family, friends, and coworkers during Mid-Autumn Festival time.
Today you can find a wide variety of modern mooncakes which don’t have egg yolk or lotus paste in them, in order to please those with a sweet tooth. You can now get mochi mooncakes, custard mooncakes, and cheesecake mooncakes. Haagen-Daaz, for example, even has an incredible line-up of ice cream mooncakes, and Starbucks has a coffee cake mooncake! So be sure to try one, whether it’s traditional or modern.