The Mid-Autumn Festival, which is one of the most important traditional festivals in Chinese culture, falls on September 24th this year. No matter where the Mid-Autumn Festival is celebrated, the colourful festival is all about family, the moon, and mooncakes.
Dating back to the early Shang Dynasty (1600-1046 BC), the festival was originally a harvest ritual where families would make offerings of mooncakes and wines to the heavens to express their gratitude for the year’s harvest. Offerings were also made to Chang’e, the Moon Goddess of Immortality.
While the festival is not considered a public holiday in Malaysia, it is widely celebrated every year, with various hotels and malls holding their own celebrations for the public to join. Such events often last for three weeks.
For those interested in the Mid-Autumn Festival celebration, we have several recommendations of the things you can experience and the places you can go (mainly around KL and Penang) to celebrate the festival.
These are the top five things to experience during the Mid-Autumn Festival in Malaysia
1. Visit the Lantern Carnivals
If you want to witness lively performances, visit the Lantern Carnivals held at several temples in KL and Penang. Floats carrying the Seven Maidens and the Goddess Chang’e, dragon and lion dances, as well as musical performance, are some of the things you can watch at such carnivals.
If you’re in KL, visit the Thean Hou Temple, which is one of the oldest and largest temples in Southeast Asia. The six-tiered temple holds the Mid-Autumn Festival Lantern Show annually.
For those in Penang, head over to George Town to see the ‘River of Lights’ lantern parade in action. If you’re more interested in watching a Wushu Competition or traditional Chinese lion and dragon dances, drop by the Straits Quay Square.
2. Savour mooncakes of unique flavours
The festival would be incomplete without the mooncakes, which come in various flavours and colours. In Malaysia, you can also find mooncakes in non-traditional flavours like cream cheese, coffee, pandan, and musang king durian.
Looking for delectable mooncakes in luxurious packaging for gifting? Find them at these hotels:
- Hilton KL – The mooncakes come in a sleek limited edition floral satchel designed by renowned Malaysian fashion designer Khoon Hooi
- The St. Regis KL – The mini mooncakes come in their signature trunks
- Mandarin Oriental KL – The mooncakes come in a gift box in the shape of a fan, which is the hotel’s iconic logo
- Concorde Hotel KL – The mooncakes come in colourful gift boxes featuring animals like rabbit and deer
- Sheraton Petaling Jaya Hotel – The mooncakes come in jewellery boxes with a peacock, butterfly or plum blossom motif
- W Hotel KL – The mooncakes come in a playful DJ vinyl disc box
Some banks in Malaysia are currently offering special Mid-Autumn Festival promotions until the end of the month:
- Maybank (Up to 50% off when you buy mooncakes at selected hotels and restaurants with a Maybank Mastercard, Visa, American Express Card, Debit or Prepaid Card)
- Standard Chartered (Up to 25% off when you buy mooncakes at selected hotels and restaurants)
- UOB (Up to 30% off when you buy mooncakes at selected hotels and restaurants)
You can also find mooncakes at various bakeries and Mid-Autumn Festival events held at malls throughout Malaysia. For those in Kuala Lumpur, Central Market is having a Mid-Autumn Festival celebration on September 22, from 5pm to 10pm.
Mid Valley Megamall is also having their own Mid-Autumn Celebration, happening now until September 28. You’ll find plenty of mooncakes and fun activities at the events.
For something a little different, try the ice cream mooncake by Inside Scoop. Now available for pre-order, the ice cream parlour offers handcrafted snow skin ice cream mooncakes in a two-piece or four-piece combo pack, with five different flavours to choose from.
3. Join a mooncake-making workshop
Have dietary needs and couldn’t find the mooncake that caters to you? Make your own batch of mooncakes! Central Market and Mid Valley Megamall are offering mooncake-making workshops, free of charge. Seats are limited for each workshop, so it will be on a first-come, first-served basis. Mid Valley Megamall’s snow skin mooncake workshops are taught by pastry chefs from Renaissance Kuala Lumpur Hotel, Concorde Hotel Kuala Lumpur, and Hilton Kuala Lumpur. You can register for the workshops here.
4. Join a lantern making workshop
The lanterns that are often seen at a Mid-Autumn Festival come in different shapes and sizes, but they usually resemble flowers, plants, or animals, and making them can be a fun activity for families with young children. Besides the mooncake-making workshops, Central Market and Mid Valley Megamall are also organising lantern making workshops.
5. Gaze at the moon from a hill, park, or beach
The full moon is the symbol of a family reunion, according to Chinese beliefs. Ancient Chinese poets often wrote poems about the moon when they’re homesick. Until now, moon-gazing is still one of the Mid-Autumn Festival’s main activities where people would gather to enjoy the wonderful view of the full moon from wherever they may be, be it the rooftop, the lakeside, or the beach. In Penang Hill, there’s a ‘Night Lantern Walk’ where you can have a panoramic view of the full moon (and also George Town).
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