Wednesday, August 23, 2006

Mid-Autumn Festival 2006 :: Hong Kong

The annual Mid Autumn Festival, celebrated across China, usually runs over three days each Fall. It's a movable feast, in the spirit of North American Thanksgiving but without the turkey. Also called the Mid Autumn Moon Festival and the Mid Autumn Lantern Festival, it begins on the 15th day of the 8th moon in the Chinese calendar, when the moon is full. Translated to western calendars, it's Thursday, October 5, 2006.

If you're traveling to Hong Kong around this time, head to Victoria Park where dozens of lanterns -- some quite large and elaborate, others small and personal -- and special food stalls, and arts and crafts workshops are set up. There'll be a Fire Dragon Parade, too.

If you're Kowloon side (Tsim Sha Tsui), head for the promenade to watch the harbour lights or to Park Lane Shopper’s Boulevard for lantern displays.

To get a glimpse of what it's like, I posted some photos of the park, albeit in daytime, and of lanterns and flags decorating the streets on my Hong Kong page at

Expect to be offered moon cakes -- you'll love them or not, much like Christmas cake in the West. Sure, it's a busy travel time, but, like New York city, it's always busy in Hong Kong. That's half the fun!

If you're planning to be in the Toronto (Canada) area from now to October 1, check out the Chinese Lantern Festival at Ontario Place. And also on now until Labour Day is the Canadian National Exhibition. All three attractions are within walking distance from each other on Toronto's waterfront.