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.
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. If you happen to be in town during this period, be sure to check them out!
The Hong Kong Leisure and Cultural Services Department (LCSD) sponsors many of the events. The displays and cultural activities are free to the public.
When and Where are the Lantern Carnivals, Displays and Parades?
The 2020 Hong Kong Mid-Autumn Festival is on Thursday, October 1st, 2020. The major carnival in Victoria Park takes place on this day. This year it coincides with National Day typically celebrated with a lavish fireworks display! Other Lantern carnivals, displays and exhibitions this year start in late September and run through early October.
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 at Victoria Park - Thursday, October 1st, 2020. 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
- Lantern and Light Show / Exhibition - TBA - This is normally a large-scale lantern and light installation in Victoria Park, curated by a renowned local artist.
- Tsim Sha Tsui Lantern Installation - TBA late September to early October, 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. There are also Lantern Making Workshops, details TBA, each session lasts for 30 minutes, spaces are limited and first-come-first-served.
- The Tai Hang Fire Dragon Dance Parade - September 30 - October 2, 2020. 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 - at TBC. More beautiful lantern displays and full programme of cultural activities are planned.
Carnival Night - TBA - 7:30 to 10 pm
Youth Night - TBA - 7:30 - 9:30 pm
- New Territories West Mid-Autumn Lantern Carnival - at TBC. Lanterns and cultural performances will take place.
Carnival Night - TBA - 7:30 to 10 pm
Youth Night - TBA - 7:30 - 9:30 pm
- Displays and Mid-Autumn Festival Celebrations at Lee Tung Avenue
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.
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, but the showcase never dissapoints!
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
Lanterns At Lee Tung Avenue
Lee Tung Avenue is always ready to host some fantastic event during Mid-Autumn Festival. Last year it was a fantastic lantern display with hundreds of traditional Chinese colorful lanterns printed with Peony, Lotus and Orchid patterns that greeted you all along the Avenue, Also they hosted a series of shows and performances such as Chinese Martial Arts, Music Shows, Chinese Music Ensemble, etc. we expect a similar set up this year.
And check out our Pinterest Board for everything Mid-Autumn Festival: the Lanterns, Carnivals, Moon Cakes, Fire Dragons...
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