Full moon to shine on this year Mid-Autumn Festival

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 05 September, 2013, 6:15pm
UPDATED : Thursday, 05 September, 2013, 8:54pm

Moon-gazers at this year’s Mid-Autumn Festival are in for a treat as for the first time in nearly a decade a full moon is expected.

The festival this year falls on Thursday, September 19, with the full moon set to occur at 7.13pm, according to the Hong Kong Observatory.

The last time a full moon occurred on the night of the festival itself was in 2004, the observatory said, adding that – weather permitting – moon-gazers this year will be able to view a “bright and clear moon” from open spaces in all districts.

Hong Kong has a number of prime locations for moon-gazing, including Victoria Peak and the Tsim Sha Tsui promenade.

However, this year, the focus will be on Victoria Park, where the Tourism Board is constructing a three-storey high lantern especially for moon-gazing.

Created from 7,000 recycled plastic bottles, the hemispheric lantern will be accessible to the public and offer a vantage point in its roof for revelers to view the moon, the Tourism Board said.

“We have calculated the exact location of moon that evening, so visitors at the exhibition will have a perfect view,” said Stanley Siu, an architect who helped design the installation. “We hope this lantern can bring Hong Kong residents and tourists together in one place to enjoy the festival.”

The Mid-Autumn Festival will also feature several fire dragon dances and lantern carnivals.

The century-old Tai Hang Fire Dragon Dance will take place on September 18, 19 and 20 and will involve 300 performers and a 67-metre-long fire dragon.

In Aberdeen, five smaller fire dragons will combine to create one large creature that will dance it way to Pok Fu Lam Village.

The Mid-Autumn Festival has been celebrated by Chinese communities since the Shang Dynasty in 1600BC. Historically, farmers used the festival to give thanks to the moon god for bountiful harvests.

Today, the festival provides an occasion for family reunions and the consumption of special snacks, especially mooncakes.