Mid-Autumn Festival is a time of celebration in Hong Kong and one my kids adore.
It is a time when the weather is (theoretically) cooling down, the moon is full overhead (and the photo above proves it!) and everyone enjoys the beauty of the lanterns.
We partake of a trip to Victoria Park to see the lanterns annually; this year was no exception. Normally it is a wonderful experience of fun and illumination where the kids can roam free and swing their lanterns while enjoying the large ones on display. This year however it seemed everyone on Hong Kong Island remembered the Victoria Park carnival and had the same idea as us.
The massive queue to enter the display area snaked around and around and backwards and forwards for rows and rows over one concrete soccer pitch and several basketball courts. Thankfully it moved consistently and the kids didn’t get the chance to whinge or complain as they excitedly walked closer and closer to the entry – a giant hemi-sphere constructed from hundreds (thousands?) of recycled water cooler bottles. Upon a bit of research this is supposed to represent a rising moon and I would certainly agree it did look like a moon rising out of a pool of reflecting water. Both kids appreciated the use of recycled materials in the display – both inside and out as it was illuminated with a light show every 12 or so minutes.
The show was pretty but unimpressive on the outside so I was expecting most of the magic of the lights to be inside the dome. Alas, a different type of bottle was hung and recycled inside all but obscuring the exterior light show. The display of recycled bottles was pretty, just not what we had expected.
Escaping the dome we emerged into a wild swarm of people bumping and pushing each other as they vied for position to see the lanterns sporadically displayed around the area. We became part of the endless wave shuffling out way towards the displays which were hidden behind the crowds until we got up close.
We laughed to find many of the lanterns this year followed the theme of Hong Kong street food.
Fishball (Yu-daan) on a stick? YEP!
The kids favorite – Egg ball waffle (Gai daan jai)? Sure!
The ever favorite Yum Cha (Dim Sum) dessert – Egg custart tart (Daan tart)? You Betcha! I think Mitchell is standing on the “Do Not Eat the lanterns” sign.
They even had a Hong Kong cafe special – Bun + Hong Kong milk tea.
Despite the crowds and the prodding and jostling for position the kids LOVED it. Many of the displays were obscured until we were almost on top of them because of the crowds, which added to the adventure and mystery of what we would see next. This wasn’t a problem as the kids took guesses as to what they thought each display would be.
Ooohhh looook! Moon cakes and festive buns!
In one area of the carnival Chinese handicrafts were on display. We tried to get close but alas the crowds became too much to deal with as they closed in around us and we slowly backed out to find clean breathing space.
There were plenty of lanterns to enjoy this year so we weren’t left disappointed.
The one thing we did miss was the Tai Hang Fire Dragon. The dragon comes out for 3 nights over the Mid-Autumn festival but we couldn’t find out when or where. We’ll have to do our research and go on another dragon hunt next year!