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The ultimate guide to Mid-Autumn Festival in Hong Kong

Written by
Time Out Hong Kong
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This year’s Mid-Autumn Festival takes place on Thursday September 15 and the following day is a public holiday, meaning three days of out-of-office bliss. And while Mid-Autumn Festival is traditionally all about feasting on mooncakes and checking out paper lanterns, our modern metropolis has all that and a whole lot more to keep you entertained during your time off. Just see here…

Mooncake Making Workshop
It’s time to stop devouring all those boring store-bought mooncakes and start making your own. Put your oven mitts on and learn the secret to these sweet treats at Central’s Oh Sweet Flower Cake and Bakery. Their mooncakes are made with a beautiful twist of colour and you can customise your own with a range of designs, colours and fillings from red bean to custard. If you’re no Gordon Ramsay, fear not. The workshop is taught by professional pastry chefs, so making mooncakes here is just as easy as eating them. Until Sept 14, Unit 1103, 11/F, Yue Shing Commercial Bldg, 15-16 Queen Victoria St, Central, 9175 2777; ohsweet.com.hk. Various times. $380.

Thematic Lantern Display
Like tinsel and fairy lights at Christmas, you can’t get enough of lantern displays during Mid-Autumn Festival. And this one in TST comes with a compelling story that allows visitors to discover the original tale behind the public holiday. The delicate lanterns are shaped into mythical characters such as Chang’E and the jade rabbit that keeps her company on the moon. Come nighttime, these detailed illuminations come to life in a parade of lights to allow visitors to watch the legend unfold. Until Sep 25, Outside Hong Kong Space Museum, 10 Salisbury Rd, Tsim Sha Tsui, 2721 0226; lcsd.gov.hk. 6.30pm-11pm (until midnight on Sep 15). Free.

Fire Dragon Dance
Those who want to witness local traditions should head to Tai Hang. The neighbourhood is famous for its fire dragon dance, which has been performed for over a century. But tradition is not the only thing the dance has going for itself: a 220ft-long dragon, 300 performers and 70,000 incense sticks and firecrackers also make up part of this extravagant celebration (pictured right). Here’s a Time Out tip: beat the crowds and head to Wun Sha Street for the best view. Remember to move those feet in time to the drum! Sep 14-Sep 16, Tai Hang, Causeway Bay, 2577 2649; taihangfiredragon.hk. 8:15pm. Free.

New Territories West Mid-Autumn Lantern Carnival 
Themed ‘glamorous splendour’, this Mid-Autumn Lantern Carnival at Tin Shui Wai Park is more carnival than lantern display. Showcasing artistic performances from Chinese traditional dancers, a capella groups, diabolo juggling and a crystal ball magic show, the carnival is not only full of celebration but full of fun. Having said all that, it would be a shame to miss the event’s lantern display, which features an impressive five-metre-high revolving lantern as its centrepiece, surrounded by butterfly lanterns and large red silk lanterns. It’s proof that Mid-Autumn Festival is done best here in Hong Kong. Sep 16-17, Tin Shui Wai Park & Ginza Square, 6 Tin Shui Wai Rd, Tin Shui Wai; lcsd.gov.hk. 7.30pm-10pm. Free.

Victoria Park
Any lazy Islanders who can’t face trekking to the New Territories can take solace in the fact that the crown jewel of all lantern carnivals in the city remains Victoria Park’s Urban Mid-Autumn Lantern Carnival (pictured far right). This year, the theme is ‘A Moonlit Night in the Fairyland’ and organisers promise monumental lanterns that are going to light up the park with a whole spectrum of colours. A night of fun for the whole family, the carnival features a marching band performance, folk craft demonstrations, a ‘lantern riddle quiz’ and more. Sep 15-16, Victoria Park, 1 Wing Fat St, Causeway Bay; lcsd.gov.hk. 7.30pm-11pm. Free.

Lantern Making Workshop
If you’ve already eaten so many mooncakes that the idea of making more is a massive turn-off, how about making your own lanterns instead. Even better, catch up with today’s technology and try a modern twist on traditional paper lanterns. Slot in a lesson at San Po Kong’s Hong Kong Make Center and get crafty and learn some origami tips while you’re at it. Pick your patterns and design your own flower bouquet lantern. Illuminated by LED lights at a push of a button, it’s time to leave the past behind. Sep 1-30, Ka Wing Factory Bldg 4B, 19-21 Ng Fong St, San Po Kong, 3990 9589; makecentre.com.hk. 11.30am-8.30pm. $480.

Lamma Fisherfolk Village Market
Sail your way to Lamma Island for a unique ‘on-the-water’ experience. Loaded with historic culture, the Fisherfolk Village at Lamma has put together a festive Mid-Autumn-themed market. Take part in local workshops and performances or take a stroll down memory lane with delicious classic snacks. A light-hearted, cosy get-together, you can even gaze at the moon while floating on the ocean – the perfect excuse to get out of the city this weekend. Sep 17-18, Lamma Fisherfolk Village, Lamma Island, 2982 8585; fisherfolks.com.hk. Midday-7pm. Free.

Central Pier Market
Another alternative event for those seeking some variety in their Mid-Autumn celebrations. Although Central Pier’s night market isn’t your typical firecracker and lantern-filled festival, the usual cheer is still palpable. The occasion is ideal for a night of thrifty cheap finds. Selling various trinkets, handicrafts from local designers and seasonal sweet treats, this is the perfect place to sit back, relax and enjoy your time off work. With Victoria Harbour, the Central skyline and a full moon as the picture perfect backdrop, this is about as Hong Kong as it gets. Sep 15-Sep 16, Central Pier No 7, Man Kwong St, Central, 4pm-9pm. Free.

Moon-gazing at the Astropark
For the clearest sight of the moon, head to Sai Kung’s Astropark. Away from the concrete jungle and dirty light of the rest of the city, the Astropark boasts an area of 1,200sq m and a range of astronomical instruments you can get busy with. And with Mid-Autumn one of the best times to view the moon, you’re guaranteed a breathtaking view of the night sky. It’s not called the Moon Festival for nothing. Astropark, Chong Hing Water Sports Center, West Sea Cofferdam, High Island Reservoir, Sai Kung, 2721 0226; hk.space.museum. Free.

Lee Tung Avenue LED Light Show 
It’s not only parks and piers that are in on the festivities. The recently revamped Lee Tung Avenue is too. Decorated with colourful lanterns and a parade that features an impressive 70-ft-long LED dragon, the age-old holiday is celebrated with a contemporary spin. Swaying to the beat of the drum, the LED dragon dances from Queen’s Road East down to Johnston Road, warmly welcoming the holiday. Sep 14-Sep 16, Lee Tung Ave, 200 Queen’s Rd E, Wan Chai; leetungavenue.com.hk. 8.30pm-9.30pm. Free.

XTE Mid-Autumn Race 
Thanks to fulfilling Mid-Autumn family obligations, the extra pounds can sneak up on you just like that. But we’ve got your back. Try  XTE’s Mid-Autumn Race to work off the excess. There’s a choice of two trails – an explorer and family (6km) run and a ‘challenge’ route (16km) – both of which wind around the Clearwater Bay area. Take in the scenery and finish off the last remaining mooncakes afterwards. This time, guilt free. Apply by September 9 to reserve your spot. Sep 25, Clearwater Bay Barbecue Site, Clearwater Bay Country Park, Clearwater Bay, 2676 9678; xterace.com. 3pm. $160.

One Central Macau
Pack your bags and head to Macau. The first-ever Macau Lantern Festival is taking place at One Central Macau and local architect and artist Carlos Marreiros is creating an awe-inspiring lantern display for guests. Forty illuminated rabbit lanterns and floating rabbit balloons are placed along the waterfront promenade. Full of nostalgia, the lanterns are inspired by the classic rabbit lantern design that has a long history in China. There’s even an 11-m-tall inflatable rabbit to top things off. Selfie-sticks at the ready! Various times and dates, One Central Macau, Avenida Dr Sun Yat Sen, Macau; 

onecentral.com.mo. $50.

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