Mid-Autumn Festival Lantern Carnival in Sha Tin
The Mid-Autumn Festival Lantern Carnivals in Hong Kong take place in many parts of the territory and run for a few days before and after the festival proper which is celebrated on the 8th Full Moon in the Lunar Calendar, usually around September/October in the Western calendar.
Together with the Tai Hang Fire Dragon Dance celebrations, they are the centerpieces of the festivities of the Mid-Autumn festival or Moon festival as it is also known.
On this full moon day, families and communities traditionally gathered to celebrate the bountiful harvesting season, somewhat of the equivalent to the American Thanksgiving Day. Nowadays, families and friends take part in the many lantern carnivals and celebrations around the city.
The Lantern Carnivals, besides showcasing an incredible variety of colorful, bright shiny lanterns, feature also many cultural events and performances including song and dances, kung fu, acrobatics, craft demonstrations and the like.
The Hong Kong Leisure and Cultural Services Department (LCSD) sponsors many of the events. The displays and activities are free to the public.
These are some of the main Lantern celebrations in Hong Kong which are easy to get to and are very accesible for visitors:
Main theme of the lanterns varies from year to year. The 2014 theme is "The World in Colours". These exhibitions run for approximately a month, this year, they will commence on August 28, 2014 and run through October 5, 2014.
Two major Carnivals which feature full cultural programmes are also held in the New Territories. Check the LCSD website for details.
All programs are free, public is free to roam around the beautiful lantern displays.
View Mid-Autumn Festival Lantern Carnivals in Hong Kong in a larger map
This is the all-in-one mega event that offers the lantern displays including the magnificent Lantern Wonderland (see below), a full cultural programme, and the Fire Dragon Dance Parade.
The cultural program includes kung fu demonstrations, folk songs and dance shows, acrobatics, traditional hand-made lantern displays, demonstrations of Chinese folk arts and crafts, fortune-telling and a variety of entertainment.
The Fire Dragon Dance is a main part of the Mid-Autumn celebrations, the original parade takes place in Tai Hang for three days, but visitors of Victoria Park will also have a chance to see it here on the day of the Mid-Autumn Festival proper. The parade features a 67-metre long dragon with thousands of burning incense sticks and over 300 performers which will circle around the throngs of visitors at Victoria Park.
The Lantern Displays are state-of-the-art designs and the highlight of the event is Lantern Wonderland, the main signature piece has been chosen in previous years through a design competition organised by the HKTB and several design organisations.
The Design contest is held months prior to the festival and the winning entry is showcased during the Mid-Autumn Festival.
This masterpiece is judged based in four elements: creativity and originality, practicality and safety compliance, use of environmentally friendly materials, and cost effectiveness in consideration of the budget guidelines (the cost of building the design must not exceed HK$2,000,000 or approx. US$250,000, yes, it's a monumental lantern!)
Here's a look at past winners:
The 2013 Lantern Wonderland centerpiece winner was "Rising Moon", a 10-meter half-dome completely made from recycled water bottles and LED lights with fantastic light effects that mirrored the phases of the moon.
You were able to enter the structure which had a capacity of 100 people, and from the inside you could see the hanging lantern-bottles suspended from the periphery of the half-dome, which also had an opening so you could enjoy the real moon on that fantastic full-moon night.
For 2012, the winning centerpiece was the "Golden Moon" set up on a water pool and standing 18 metres high, it is a warm reminder of the full-moon symbolism of family reunion of the Mid-Autumn festival. The half-dome structure was lit up at night in conjunction with synchronised music:
The 2011 centerpiece of the celebration was a giant fish-shaped lantern, created with over 2,000 lanterns, it made it into the Guinness Book of World Records as the largest sculpture made of lanterns.
Together with a 3-minute coreographed program, this beautiful massive lantern delighted visitors who enjoyed the musical light show which replayed every 15 minutes.
For 2014, rather than one major centerpiece, a Students' Lantern Design Display is planned in the grounds of Victoria Park. Primary and Secondary schools as well as the general public have been invited to participate and take part in the Lantern Exhibition to foster an interest amongst teachers and students in Chinese traditional art and craft in lantern making.
In the same way as the Spring Lantern Festival, the LCSD sets up an amazing Lantern Exhibition in the grounds of the HK Cultural Centre Piazza.
This one is fairly easy to pop in for tourists as it's just around the corner from the Star Ferry Terminal and the TST metro station and you can enjoy the beautiful lantern displays as you stroll around the Clocktower and the Promenade, and maybe take in the Symphony of Lights show which is featured every night.
A beautiful Lantern Exhibition is set up along the Waterfront Promenade in West Kowloon.
Getting to the West Kowloon Promenade is easy with the MTR. The Western entrance of the Promenade is only a five minute walk from the Kowloon Station MTR Station.
For more information on this year's Mid-Autumn Lantern Carnivals and Exhibitions check out the official site of the Hong Kong Leisure and and Cultural Services Department at www.lcsd.gov.hk.
Mid-Autumn Festival Lantern Carnivals and Displays - many venues, from early to mid-September, 2014
Tai Hang Fire Dragon Dance and Parade - Tai Hang, Causeway Bay, September 7, 8, 9, 2014 - 7:30 p.m.
Mid-Autumn Lantern Wonderland - Victoria Park, Causeway Bay, Carnival on September 8, 2014, Lantern Wonderland from September 5 - 14, 2014.
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