The Mid-Autumn Festival and 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. Sadly, the 2020 Tai Hang Fire Dragon Parades and Carnivals have been cancelled due to the pandemic measures.
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 typically take part in the many lantern carnivals and celebrations around the city. This year's celebrations however won't be like in years past due to the pandemic. But there are still many ways to enjoy this long weekend and take advantage of the many Staycation offers in the city to spend some quality time with your loved ones.
When and Where are the Lantern Carnivals, Displays and Parades?
The 2020 Hong Kong Mid-Autumn Festival is on Thursday, October 1st, 2020. MOST LARGE SCALE 2020 EVENTS, CARNIVALS AND FIRE DRAGON PARADES HAVE BEEN SUSPENDED DUE TO THE CORONAVIRUS MEASURES.
These are some of the main Lantern and Mid-Autumn celebrations in Hong Kong which are easy to get to and are very accesible for visitors.
- Mid-Autumun Urban Carnival and Lantern Exhibition at Victoria Park - SUSPENDED. This is the all-in-one event that offers the lantern displays and a full cultural programme including a Fire Dragon Dance, kung fu demonstrations, folk songs and crafts.
Main Carnival - TBC Thursday, October 1st, 2020 - from 8:00 pm - 11:00 pm
Youth Night: TBC Wednesday, September 30, 2020 - from 7:30 pm - 9:30 pm
- Tsim Sha Tsui Lantern Installation - TO BE CONFIRMED, set up at the Hong Kong Cultural Centre Piazza, just steps from the Waterfront. Opening hours for installation are Fridays through Sundays from 6:30pm - 11pm, until midnight on October 1.
- The Tai Hang Fire Dragon Dance Parade - CANCELLED. Not a typical Dragon Parade and unique to Hong Kong. The 67-metre Fire Dragon will wind through the streets of Tai Hang, like it did over a century ago with over 300 performers, 70,000 incense sticks, and lots of firecrackers.
- New Territories East Mid-Autumn Lantern Carnival - TO BE CONFIRMED
Carnival Night - TBA - 7:30 to 10 pm
Youth Night - TBA - 7:30 - 9:30 pm
- New Territories West Mid-Autumn Lantern Carnival - TO BE CONFIRMED
Carnival Night - TBA - 7:30 to 10 pm
Youth Night - TBA - 7:30 - 9:30 pm
All programs are free, public is free to roam around the beautiful lantern displays.
Urban Mid-Autumn Carnival at Victoria Park
This is the all-in-one mega event that
offers magnificent Lantern Displays, a full cultural programme, and a Fire
Dragon Dance Parade.
The cultural program which varies from year to year includes kung fu demonstrations, folk songs and dance shows,
acrobatics, and a variety of entertainment.
In addition there are many exhibitions and workshops such as traditional hand-made lantern exhibitions, demonstrations of Chinese folk arts and
crafts including paper-cutting, clay figurines, woodblock printing, etc.
The Fire Dragon Dance is a main part of the Mid-Autumn celebrations. (2020 cancelled)
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 Fire Dragon is expected to arrive at Victoria Park between 10:45 pm and 11:30 pm on October 1, 2020
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.
If you miss the Fire Dragon at Victoria Park, catch it in Tai Hang on September 12 or 14. Here's more on the Tai Hang Fire Dragon Dance Parade.
Victoria Park Lantern Displays
Bright and colorful lantern displays turn Victoria Park into a magical land, the displays are lit every night from 6:30 pm to 11:00 pm, and there is also an Exhibition on Craftsmanship of Lantern Making.
In previous years, the highlight of the event was a monumental state-of-the-art Lantern Wonderland which chose a main
signature piece through a design competition organised by the HKTB and several design organisations.
The Design contest was held months prior to the festival and the winning entry was showcased during the Mid-Autumn Festival.
was 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 was not to exceed HK$2,000,000
or approx. US$250,000!)
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 was 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.
"Lee Kum Kee Lantern Wonderland"
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.
No design contest has been announced for the 2020 Lantern Displays at Victoria Park.
Tsim Sha Tsui Interactive Lighting Installation
In the same way as the Spring Lantern Festival, the LCSD sets
up an amazing Lantern Exhibition in Tsim Sha Tsui near the Waterfront Promenade.
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 displays as you stroll around the
Clocktower and the Promenade, and maybe take in the Symphony of Lights show which is featured every night.
The 2020 displays will likely be set up by the Hong Kong Cultural Centre Piazza by the Clocktower as in prior years. These are the longest running.
Likewise at the other Carnival sites (Victoria Park, Shatin Park, Tsuen Wan Park), the lantern displays will run for a few days before and after the festival.
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
Hong Kong Attractions, Tours, Activities that are open during the Mid-Autumn Festival
Many attractions remain closed but several tours, attractions and activities that can be conducted safely while adhering to proper social distancing guidelines have reopened as have most outdoor activities.
It's time to get out! Here's a list of fun outdoor things to do that have restarted operations and can be booked now. When possible book tickets online and/or make a reservation as many of the activities are running on limited capacities. You can book with confidence as there is a free cancellation policy for most of the activities listed here, if your plans change and you cancel up to 24 hours in advance you will receive a full refund.
- The Peak Tram, Peak Tower, Sky Terrace and Peak Galleria are OPEN
- The Hong Kong Observation Wheel - is OPEN
- Ngong Ping 360 Cable Car - is OPEN, purchase tickets online
- Ocean Park - is OPEN, purchase tickets online, you also must make a reservation for the day of your visit
- Hong Kong Disneyland - is OPEN, purchase tickets online, you also must make a reservation for the day of your visit
- All 3 routes of Big Bus Hop On Hop Off Bus Tours are operating on weekends
- Sky100 Observation Deck - is OPEN
- Harbour Cruises have restarted, the following have resumed sailings:
- Fantastic outdoor excursions: hiking, kayaking, swimming, mountain biking, paddleboarding...
- Lion Rock Sunset Hiking Adventure - Victoria Harbour's most dramatic summit - 4 hours, starts from Wong Tai Sin MTR station
- Victoria Peak Private Evening Hike - 2 hours, meets at Central MTR Station, Victoria Peak Tram tickets for return optional
- Geopark Kayaking Adventure - 7 hours, meets at Hang Hau MTR Station
- The Mai Po Nature Reserve is OPEN, the WWF offers eco-visits Thrusdays through Sundays, which is the easiest way to visit the reserve without having to get a government permit. You can book an eco-visit here
- Hong Kong Wetland park - is OPEN, except for the Mudflat Hide which will reopen on November 4, 2020
- Sai Kung Standup-Paddle Adventure - 5 hours, meets at Hang Hau MTR station
- Hike the legendary Ngong Ping 360 Rescue Trail to the Big Buddha - 4 hours, starts at Tung Chung MTR station
- Lantau Mountain Biking Adventure - 6 hours, meets at the Central Ferry Pier
- Hike the Yellow Dragon Gorge Nature Trek in Lantau Island - 5 hours, meets at Tung Chung MTR station on Lantau Island
- Plover Cove Bicycling and Hiking Adventure - 4 hours, meets at Tai Po Market MTR station
- Tai Mo Shan Waterfall Hike the tallest waterfall in Hong Kong - 4 hours, meets at Tai Wo MTR station
- The Dragon's Back Hike and Tai Long Wan Beach - 5 hours, meets at Shau Kei Wan MTR station
- Ma On Shan Climbing Adventure - 6 hours, starts at Heng On MTR ends in Saikung town
- Tolo Harbour Cycling Adventure - 4 hours, meets at Tai Po Market MTR Station
And check out our Pinterest Board for everything Mid-Autumn Festival: the Lanterns, Carnivals, Moon Cakes, Fire Dragons...
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Book with confidence! Free cancellation: Cancel up to 24 hours in advance to receive a full refund