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Lunar Love A Guide to the Mid-Autumn Festival in Singapore

Lunar Love: A Guide to the Mid-Autumn Festival in Singapore

The Mid-Autumn Festival is one of the most highly anticipated and celebrated festivals in Singapore. First-time visitors may find the festivities a little overwhelming, but a little research about the festival might help with the expectations.

From lanterns to mooncakes, we broke down the details to help you get on top of what to expect during the festival. The more you know, the better you can celebrate the Mid-Autumn Festival like a local!

What is the Mid-Autumn Festival in Singapore?

What is the Mid-Autumn Festival in Singapore

Also called the Moon Festival, the Mid-Autmumn Festival in Singapore is a highly celebrated occasion in Chinese culture. It is also one of the most important events of the year. 

For Singaporeans, the festival entails month-long preparations for the full moon between September and October. Although observed, it is not a public holiday in Singapore. 

In Chinese culture, the Mid-Autumn Festival is celebrated every 15th day of the 8th month in the Chinese lunar calendar, falling on the full moon. 

It is believed that the full moon on this date is at its brightest and biggest, signifying a good harvest during the autumn season. 

The festival’s origins date back over 3,000 years ago, during the Shang Dynasty. At that time, the Chinese would worship the moon as a way to give thanks for the harvest during the year. 

What are the legends behind the Mid-Autumn Festival?

What are the legends behind the Mid-Autumn Festival

Like most cultural festivals, the Mid-Autumn Festival has multiple legends surrounding its origin and the six most common revolve around the moon goddess Chang E, a rabbit, and Wu Gang. 

The Legend of Chang E

The Legend of Chang E

The legend of moon goddess Chang E is one of the most famous legends behind the festival. The story begins with Chang E, a beautiful woman who married Hou Yi, a Chinese hero who shot down nine out of ten suns to keep the world from drought. 

Hou Yi was given an elixir of immortality as a reward for his heroic deed. On the 15th of August, his apprentice, Fengmeng, broke into Hou Yi and Chang E’s home to steal the elixir for himself. 

To keep the elixir from the wrong hands, Chang E drank it and escaped to the moon where she lived her newfound immortality, away from her husband. 

There was nothing Hou Yi could do to bring his wife back, so every 15th of August, he would lay out a feast under the full moon in her honour. 

There are many versions of this story, but this one remains to be the most popularly told during the Mid-Autumn Festival. 

The Legend of the Jade Rabbit

The Legend of the Jade Rabbit

The Legend of the Jade Rabbit is connected to Change E’s story except that it comes after she turned into the Moon Goddess. 

The Jade Rabbit’s story starts when three gods turned into frail and old humans and begged for food from a monkey, a fox, and a rabbit. 

The monkey and the fox offered food to the three gods, but the rabbit didn’t have any to offer. So instead, the rabbit offered itself as the sacrifice for the gods to eat. 

To reward the rabbit for its selflessness, the three gods sent it to the moon to become immortal. 

The rabbit then became Chang E’s companion on the moon, helping her create elixirs of immortality. Because of this legend, the Jade Rabbit in Chinese culture symbolises sacrifice and selflessness. 

The Legend of Wu Gang 

The Legend of Wu Gang

The legend of Wu Gang doesn’t end as nicely as Chang E’s and Jade Rabbit’s, but it’s still a popular story told during the Mid-Autumn Festival. It involves Wu Gang attempting to become immortal by cutting down a cherry tree. 

The tree’s life cycle during autumn, losing leaves and growing blossoms, symbolises the lunar phases. 

In order for Wu Gang to gain immortality, he had to cut down a cherry tree on the moon. 

Wu Gang made several attempts, but the tree only healed itself and grew back to its fullest form with each attempt he made. 

Wu Gang was punished to cut down the tree for eternity on the moon. 

How do you celebrate Mid-Autumn Festival in Singapore?

How do you celebrate Mid-Autumn Festival in Singapore

There are many ways people celebrate the Mid-Autumn festival and traditional activities are often done on the official date of the festival, but the festivities usually run for about two weeks to a month. 

Worship the moon or offer prayers to the moon goddess 

Worship the moon or offer prayers to the moon goddess

Giving offerings or worshipping the moon goddess is one of the most traditional activities Chinese communities in Singapore do during the Mid-Autumn Festival. 

The moon goddess Chang E is believed to be responsible for a good harvest, so making offerings or sending prayers to her results in good luck and abundant fortune for the years to come. 

Some devout Taoists would burn incense in reverence to her. 

Chinese-Singaporean families may also simply share stories and legends about the moon goddess instead of worshipping her. 

Make mooncakes and share them with friends and family

Make mooncakes and share them with friends and family

Mooncakes are quintessential to celebrating the Mid-Autumn Festival because of their significance to the legends of the Han Chinese. 

It is said that mooncakes were used as devices to carry secret messages between Han Chinese allies to beat the Mongolian rulers. 

Today, mooncakes signify family reunions and harmony in relationships. Often bought in pastry shops or bakeries for gift-giving, it is customary to share them with families and friends. 

Many also serve mooncakes as dessert after a family dinner. 

Mooncakes are baked or steamed sweet treats made of dense dough filled with sweet fillings. The most traditional mooncakes have a salted egg yolk in the centre and are filled with lotus, red bean, and black bean paste. 

The filled dough is then moulded into a shape with an intricate design on top. 

Other modern versions of the mooncake include fruits, nuts, and other flavourings and colours.

View the moon

View the moon

In a festival dedicated to the full moon, it’s hard to miss out on appreciating it. In Singapore, shops and landmarks open their doors to the public for people to gather and enjoy the festivities under the moonlight. 

Hosting a picnic, gathering in parks, or taking an evening stroll around the city are a few ways you can enjoy viewing the moonlight. 

Hang lanterns or make one yourself

Hang lanterns or make one yourself

Lanterns are also quintessential to the Mid-Autumn Festival, being used as festive decorations inside homes, outside establishments, and as streamers along the street. 

In ancient times, lanterns were used to signify the end of the harvest season and were lit up as a way to give thanks to the gods for their blessing. 

During the Mid-Autumn Festival, decorating your home with lanterns is customary. People like to make their own lanterns in varying shapes, sizes, and colours. 

You can find them strewn all over the city during the day, and when the night falls, these lanterns light up. 

Traditionally, the Mid-Autumn Festival is celebrated after sunset, so lanterns are used to light up the streets for people to gather and join in on the festivities, echoing the soft glow of the full moon. 

Explore street markets

Explore street markets

The Mid-Autumn Festival is a vibrant event and most districts in Singapore host parties, gatherings, and markets for the people to gather and explore. 

Most markets and carnivals are lined up with lanterns and other Chinese decorations, so they’re hard to miss when you’re out in the streets. 

It’s also customary for these markets to sell mooncakes and other Chinese delicacies for people to bring home to give away to friends. 

Dragon dances are also common during the festivities, and they are signalled by the loud banging of drums. 

Host family reunions

Host family reunions

The significance of the Mid-Autumn Festival in Singapore centres on the theme of thanksgiving and unity. Therefore, it is tradition to host family reunions or gatherings during the festival. 

Family gatherings and reunions are customary during other Chinese festivals, but the Mid-Autumn Festival, in particular, emphasises unity and thanksgiving. 

Thus, people make the effort to visit family members and prepare a feast as a way to express their gratitude and love for one another. 

Families can also opt to dine at Chinese restaurants during the festival if preparing a feast at home is not an option. 

This is also when mooncakes are shared after a festive meal. 

Play traditional games 

Play traditional games

During family gatherings, it is common to play traditional Chinese games such as lantern riddles and dice games. 

The dice game, known as dai siu, is played by throwing three dice on a table. Each player makes a bet on what number will show once the dice are thrown. Whoever guesses the dice outcome or closest to it wins the game (and money!). 

Lantern riddles are also popular among family celebrations during the Mid-Autumn Festival. Riddles are written on slips of paper and attached to lanterns hung around homes. 

People then choose a lantern and take turns solving the riddles. Those who guess them right are often rewarded with money or another prize. 

Party by the beach

Party by the beach

Aside from traditional dinners and market hopping, partying by the beach is also a popular way Singaporeans celebrate the Mid-Autumn Festival. 

Many beachside parks like the East Coast Park and Siloso Beach Walk are popular spots for people to hang out and celebrate with other partygoers in the area. 

Nearby resorts and establishments may also organise a Mid-Autumn Festival event that is open to visitors who want to jam to music and party the night away!

Where is the Mid-Autumn Festival celebrated in Singapore?

Where is the Mid-Autumn Festival celebrated in Singapore

Singapore hosts the Mid-Autumn Festival all over the island, but annual celebrations are usually held at Chinatown, Gardens by the Bay, Jewel Changi, and various parks and community centres. 

It’s important to note that various communities around Singapore may host their own events dedicated to the festival. 


Address: 75 Pagoda St, Singapore 059234


Contact Details: +6562215115 

Operating Hours: Monday to Sunday, 10:00 am to 10:00 pm

Chinatown is the historic district in Singapore that hosts Chinese festivals all year round. 

During the Mid-Autumn Festival, this bold district is vibrant and full of life, with streets lined up with bazaars, markets, and stalls selling festive meals, snacks, and souvenirs for visitors to buy. 

Chinatown during the Mid-Autumn Festival is adorned with lanterns. It is also where the official opening ceremony usually takes place, so if you’re celebrating the festival for the first time as a tourist, this should be your first stop. 

Gardens by the Bay

Address: 18 Marina Gardens Dr, Singapore 018953


Contact Details: +6564206848 

Operating Hours: Monday to Sunday, 5:00 am to 2:00 am

Gardens by the Bay is another popular spot for Mid-Autumn Festival festivities. The whole garden complex boasts colourful lights and natural attractions, and the festival brings a special character to the already scenic views of the place. 

During the festival, Gardens by the Bay hosts cultural performances, lantern displays, and other traditional activities for visitors to participate in. 

One such event is the Garden of Blooms, held between September and October, where Chinese mythology installations line the paths across the complex. 

Jewel Changi 

Address: 60 Airport Blvd., Singapore 819643


Contact Details: +6565956868 

Operating Hours: Open 24/7

Located in the world-renowned Singapore Changi Airport, Jewel Changi is a popular destination during the Mid-Autummn Festival. 

An attraction on its own, Jewel Changi turns into ancient China during the festival, with walls and halls decorated with lanterns and Jade Rabbit statues! 

Since it’s a mall inside an airport, there are bound to be mini-bazaars decking the walkways, selling festive treats and souvenirs for foreigners leaving the country. 

Some areas may host carnival games, so if you drop by Jewel Changi during the festival, don’t miss out on winning prizes there!


Address: 391 Orchard Rd, Singapore 238872


Contact Details: +6567381111

Operating Hours: Monday to Sunday, 10:00 am to 9:30 pm

The Takashimaya Fair is one of the most highly anticipated fairs during the Mid-Autumn Festival in Singapore. Here, visitors can grab excellent deals from their favourite stores in the iconic shopping mall. 

Aside from festival retail therapy, the Takashimaya Fair is known for its huge discounts on mooncakes. The fair sells a wide variety of mooncakes, from traditional to snow mooncakes in different colours, sizes, and flavours. 

Limited edition versions may be sold at select booths, so grab some when you visit!

Singapore Hokkien Huay Kuan Cultural Academy

Address: 397 Lor 2 Toa Payoh, Singapore 319639


Contact Details: +6565899500 

Operating Hours: Monday to Friday, 9:00 am to 6:00 pm, Saturday, 9:00 am to 1:00 pm

The Singapore Hokkien Huay Kuan Cultural Academy is a hub for Mid-Autumn Festival goers who want to learn and immerse themselves in a festive environment Hokkien style! 

The academy hosts a Mid-Autumn Carnival where visitors can join in on fun carnival games, indulge in traditional and modern Chinese food, and share tasty mooncakes with newfound friends!  

Sun Yat Sen Nanyang Memorial Hall

Address: 12 Tai Gin Rd, Singapore 327874


Contact Details: +6562567377 

Operating Hours: Tuesday to Sunday, 10:00 am to 5:00 pm

The Mid-Autumn Festival is also celebrated annually in the Sun Yat Sen Nanyang Memorial Hall. 

The event turns the historic hall into a creative hub for festivalgoers to learn how to make mooncakes, join in on interactive demonstrations, and marvel at lantern installations. 

It’s also a great place to learn more about the festival’s history in Singapore, and its significance to the people. You can book heritage walking tours, support local live performances, and listen to storytellers talk about Chinese legends. 

Where to Eat or Buy Mooncakes 

Jiang-Nan Chun

Address: 190 Orchard Blvd, Singapore 248646


Contact Details: +6568317220 

Operating Hours: Monday to Sunday, 11:30 am to 2:30 pm, 6:00 pm to 10:30 pm

Jian-Nan Chun is an award-winning Cantonese restaurant known for its array of traditional mooncake selections during the Mid-Autumn Festival season. 

Located inside the Four Seasons Hotel, the restaurant serves festive. 

Limited edition mooncakes include snow skin dough, smoked duck, silver lotus, and pumpkin lotus. The Nobu Collection features sweet miso, cranberry, Jasmine tea, and durian flavours. 

These delectable mooncakes come in lantern gift boxes, which are perfect for gift-giving to friends and family. 

Wan Hao Chinese Restaurant

Address: 320 Orchard Rd, Singapore Marriott Tang Plaza Hotel, Singapore 238865


Contact Details: +6568314605

Operating Hours: Monday to Sunday, 11:30 am to 3:00 pm, 6:00 pm to 10:00 pm

Housed inside the Singapore Marriott Hotel is Wan Hao Chinese Restaurant, a fine-dining restaurant serving authentic Cantonese fare. 

Their handcrafted mooncakes are crowd-favourites during the Mid-Autumn Festival, debuting seasonal flavours every year. 

Signature mooncake flavours include the Imperial Long Jing Tea, Walnut, Yuzu Honey, and Peach Passionfruit Praline. 

These luxury mooncakes are available for pre-order at the Mid-Autumn Booth inside the hotel, so if you’re one to plan ahead, add these limited-edition mooncakes to your gift list this year.

Yan Ting

Address: 29 Tanglin Road, The St. Regis Singapore, Level 1U, Singapore 247912


Contact Details: +6565066887

Operating Hours: Monday to Sunday, 12:00 pm to 2:30 pm, 6:00 pm to 10:30 pm

Yan Ting’s annual Mid-Autumn Festival mooncake collection is a must-buy if you’re planning to gift them to a special someone. 

A signature flavour that continues to keep loyal buyers on their toes every year is the Pure Mao Shan Wang Durian and Charcoal Black Sesame Paste with Sea Salt Caramel Truffle. 

Getting your hands on these coveted mooncakes may take some time, but they’re worth the wait and money. They come in a floral lacquered gift box adorned with Chinese symbols of luck and good fortune—a thoughtful gift box idea. 

Yan Ting

Address: 133 New Bridge Rd, #01-20 Chinatown Point, Singapore 059413


Operating Hours: Monday to Sunday, 12:00 pm to 8:00 pm

Love truffle? Aroma Truffle’s annual mooncake collection is one of the most unique ones to get during the Mid-Autumn Festival season. 

Despite its clear focus on truffle-flavoured treats, the Truffle Symphony mooncake collection features other notable flavours like yuzu lemon, matcha, dark chocolate, and durian. 

Every year, the collection features new flavours, but the signature ones remain to be coveted by loyal buyers. You can order frozen snow skin mooncakes for delivery and consume them on the festival day. 

Early birds get discounts, so order as early as you can!

Thye Moh Chan

Address: 133 New Bridge Rd, #01-20 Chinatown Point, Singapore 059413


Operating Hours: Monday to Sunday, 12:00 pm to 8:00 pm

Thye Moh Chan has several branches across Singapore, but visiting the flagship store in Chinatown is a must-do if you’re down to get in the middle of the festivities. 

The pastry shop is known for its traditional Teochew baked specialties and has been serving communities with sweet treats since 1943. 

During the Mid-Autumn Festival season, Thye Moh Chan releases its Teochew-style mooncakes that feature classic flavours like the Salty Tau Sar with Salted Egg Yolk and the Yuan Yang with Salted Egg Yolk. 

The shop’s mooncakes don’t feature the iconic mooncake design but instead, keep them simple with a flaky and buttery crust. 

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