Public holidays seem to come just when you need them in Hong Kong. There is literally only one month in the calendar year where a lovely little gem of a holiday doesn’t pop up to lighten your work-week load.
The latest was for the mid-autumn festival which to us non-locals seems like a chance to go nuts decorating the place with lanterns, to wake up late because we’d stayed up too late moon-gazing and to eat gratuitously calorie-laden mooncakes. There is myth and tradition associated with the festival as well as the obvious agricultural tie-ins but most real-deal Hong Kongers we talked to about it viewed it as a chance to take the day off, chill with family and play mahjong. Oh and decorate with lanterns and eat mooncakes. Turns out we weren’t too far off the bat, just giving a bit too much credit for significance, haha.
Luckily for us, we had an invite to hang out and chill with our HK family. It was great to just chat, drink, eat and learn more about the people who make HK what it is, both expat and born n’ bred.
Then it was up to the rooftop to view the glorious full moon that heralds the festival itself. That’s a tick in the tradition box!Post moon-gazing, it was off down the hill to Victoria Park which had been transitioned into a ‘Lantern Wonderland Carnival’. T’was packed to the gunnels with lanterns, lights and people taking photos of…well, lanterns, lights and people. Hong Kong does decorating Hard Core, whatever the festival.
The piece de resistance this year was an impressive centrepiece entitled ‘Rising Moon’, a 10-metre high semi-spherical illuminated orb made from 7,000 recycled plastic bottles lit with LED lights. Yes, its as cool as it sounds. Unfortunately we missed out on the walk through the orb where apparently you could stand surrounded by the glowing plastic and look up through a hole in the roof, aimed directly at the glowing moon. Gangster! Not a bad way to spend a day off work! On which note, if you’re currently NOT on holiday, maybe reading this at work procrastinating from some laborious task and happy to be distracted even further, you can check out more about the orb or our fellow reveller’s impressions.
Happy mid-autumn festival, everyone!