Hong Kong Mid-Autumn Festival 2016
Among the many traditional Chinese festivals celebrated in Hong Kong, the Mid-Autumn Festival is one of the most colourful and filled with a host of exciting events. For centuries, the Mid-Autumn Festival has been one of the most important Chinese festivals, a time when families get together to celebrate the abundance of a good harvest and to gaze at the full moon. Children play with lanterns of different shapes and colours adding a delightful ambience to the festivities. Traditionally, the festival is a three-day event, with people welcoming the full moon on the 14th day of the eighth moon and bidding farewell to the celestial orb on the 16th day.
2016 Hong Kong Mid Autumn Festival Date: 15 September, 2016 (Thursday)
2016 Hong Kong Mid Autumn Festival Public Holiday: 16 September, 2016 (Friday) Day after mid Autumn festival
Moonrise, transit and moonset during the Mid-Autumn Festival period
The Mid-Autumn Festival this year falls on September 15 (Thursday) and the full moon will occur at 3.05am on September 17. Normally, a bright moon will be on full view at night during the Festival period if weather permits. This year, a penumbral lunar eclipse will occur around the time of the Mid-Autumn full moon, which happened once in the past 20 years. The astronomical event will last for four hours and three minutes. As the moon will pass through the penumbra (partial shadow) of the Earth without entering the umbra (total shadow), the moon will become only slightly dimmer during the event.
The previous lunar eclipse at the Mid-Autumn full moon visible in Hong Kong was a total lunar eclipse on September 17, 1997. The next lunar eclipse at the Mid-Autumn full moon will be a partial lunar eclipse on September 29, 2042.
Moon cakes are a traditional and indispensable part of the Mid-Autumn festivities. Friends and relatives give one another moon cakes as gifts to convey blessings and good fortune. Legend has it that moon cakes date back to the Yuan dynasty, when Han Chinese rebels passed secret messages to one another hidden in the cakes to prevent their plans for insurrection being discovered by their Mongolian rulers.
The celebrations also include colorful Chinese lanterns. Lantern Carnival will be held in different areas of Hong Kong with nostalgic games, cultural performances, lantern riddle games and huge thematic lantern displays, the grandest of all being at Victoria Park on Hong Kong Island.
Where to celebrate Mid-Autumn Festival in Hong Kong
To promote Chinese ethnic culture among residents and tourists alike, month-long lantern displays with themes are held around the Mid-Autumn Festival.
- Victoria Park Mid-Autumn Lantern Carnival 2016
- Tin Shui Wai Park and Ginza Square Mid-Autumn Lantern Carnival 2016
- Tai Po Waterfront Park Mid-Autumn Lantern Carnival 2016
Fire Dragon Dance
Coinciding with the Mid-Autumn Festival is the unique Tai Hang Fire Dragon Dance – a spectacular ritual that is considered one of the most extraordinary events during this Festival. In 2011, the Tai Hang Fire Dragon Dance has been inscribed on the third national list of ‘Intangible Cultural Heritage’ by the Ministry of Culture in China.
The Tai Hang Fire Dragon Dance has been performed for more than 100 years. Tai Hang located in Causeway Bay was originally a Hakka village. Legend has it that a plague broke out there in 1880s and to ward off the disease, the villagers planted joss sticks in a dragon made of grass. On the evenings of the 14th, 15th and 16th of the eighth lunar month, the villagers paraded the fire dragon through the village while letting off firecrackers. The plague ended soon after the event. From then on, the villagers have performed a three-day fire dragon dance every year to bless themselves. This breathtaking spectacle is now part of the ‘unique intangible cultural heritage of Hong Kong’.