More in-person festivities making a return for Mid-Autumn Festival

SINGAPORE – Mid-Autumn Festival celebrations are under way at Sun Yat Sen Nanyang Memorial Hall, Gardens by the Bay and Chinatown, with the common theme of a blissful reunion after the pandemic hit.

Organisers expect a good turnout as in-person activities return or are held on a bigger scale, with lantern displays, food fairs and performances among the highlights.

The Memorial Hall in Tai Gin Road is showcasing a lawn installation created in collaboration with Kai 3D Art Studio from Taiwan until Sept 25. Celestial Bodies features spherical lanterns – of about 2m in width and height – of the Sun, Moon, Earth, Saturn and Mercury, symbolising the joyous union of family and friends.

There will also be a variety of free and ticketed programmes such as performances and workshops on Sept 3 and 4. More details are on the Sun Yat Sen Nanyang Memorial Hall website.

Mr Alvin Tan, National Heritage Board’s deputy chief executive for policy and community, said the lawn installation started in 2015 and has been a yearly attraction even during the pandemic, drawing 31,000 visitors last year.

All other festival programmes were held virtually in the past two years, and Mr Tan expects more visitors this year as these programmes return to the Memorial Hall.

For the first time since the pandemic, Gardens by the Bay will bring back its marketplace offering street food and knick-knacks, as well as outdoor cultural performances, for the celebrations from Aug 27 to Sept 11.

Ms Teo Ying Er, its assistant director of programming (festivals and events) said that with the return to normality, friends and families can fully enjoy the festivities with no restrictions.

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Highlights of its lantern display include Flight To The Phoenix, inspired by the Chinese folklore tale of a hundred birds soaring towards the phoenix to honour its sacrifice. At the Supertree Grove is Joyous Reunion, featuring the 12 Chinese zodiac animals.

Another lantern set, The Colours Of Daily Life, depicts animals playing together in a post-pandemic world. It is made from traditional Korean paper, in partnership with the Embassy of the Republic of Korea and Seoul Tourism Organisation.

Colonnade Of Lights features 1,000 lanterns hand-painted by the public, including readers of the Chinese Media Group of SPH Media Trust, one of its partners for the festival.