Celebrating the Mid-Autumn Festival with arts and culture events

Celebrating the Mid-Autumn Festival with arts and culture events

The Mid-Autumn Festival, which falls on 10 Sep this year, is a traditional Chinese holiday that marks the end of the autumn harvest. While popularly associated with amazing lantern displays or mooncake food fairs, the festival originally involved worshipping the moon, inviting prosperity, and fostering community togetherness.

So, why not take the opportunity to celebrate the Mid-Autumn Festival’s origins and at the same time, learn more about the wider Chinese culture? From moon-themed performances, vanishing art forms and interactive craft experiences for both the young and young at heart, this weekend’s festivities are packed to the brim with unique art-related experiences for you and your family.

Read on for The A List’s pick of arts and culture events happening over the Mid-Autumn Festival weekend that you shouldn’t miss.

1. Melodies of the Moon

Melodies of the Moon

Ease into the Mid-Autumn festivities with a relaxing evening of moon-themed musical melodies. Performed live by the Nanyang Academy of Fine Arts (NAFA) Chinese Chamber Ensemble, the concert features familiar classics such as Blooming Flowers on a Full Moon Night and Beautiful Clouds Chasing the Moon.  

The concert will be held at the Esplanade Concourse on Friday, 9 Sep at 7.15pm, 8.15pm, and 9.15pm. If you’re running late from work, you can also catch the live stream of the last performance online. On-demand viewing of Melodies of the Moon will be also available after the live stream until 25 Sep.

Find out more about the Melodies of the Moon concert here.

2. Puppet Theatre

Puppet Theatre

Enjoy the traditional Chinese art of puppetry with three puppet performances, each representing a unique ethnic and cultural background, across the Mid-Autumn Festival weekend. Learn more about the craft, heritage, and beauty behind this disappearing art form.

On 9 Sep, catch San Chun Long , the last surviving Hainanese rod puppet troupe in Singapore. The troupe has been performing with their heirloom rod puppets for the Hainanese community since the 1920s. Watch these expert puppeteers and musicians perform excerpts from classic tales at three different timings – 6.45pm, 7.45pm, and 8.45pm.

On 10 Sep, watch a masterful showcase by the Sin Hoe Ping puppet troupe. The troupe has been managed by Yeo Lye Hoe since 1981 and is the last surviving Henghua puppet troupe in Singapore. Their signature performance involves manipulating the string puppets while singing and speaking. You can catch their performance at 6.30pm, 8pm, and 9pm.

On 11 Sep, the last Teochew puppet troupe in Singapore, Sin Ee Lye Heng, brings their craft alive at three different timings – 6.45pm, 7.45pm, and 8.45pm. This family-run troupe is led by Tina Quek and her three children Christine Ang, Ang Wei Hao, and Ang Wei Li. Catch their performance to learn more about the cultural heritage of puppetry from the city of Chaozhou, China.

All performances are free and held at the Esplanade Forecourt Garden.

Learn more about the puppet theatre performances here.

3. Where is the Moon?

Where is the Moon?

Bring your kids down to Esplanade – Theatres on the Bay for a theatre experience that explores the different phases of the moon and how it connects to the concept of time.  Where is the Moon? is a 30-minute non-verbal performance piece that includes a craft activity for participants to bring home.

The performance is directed by Liew Jia Yi and performed by Neo Hai Bin. Liew is a Singapore-based arts practitioner and drama educator who creates immersive artistic experiences for young audiences such as You Can Reach The Sky and Babies Book Club. Neo is a local actor and writer who has previously worked with Wild Rice and Drama Box and written plays for the Singapore Theatre Festival, Chinese Festival of Arts, and M1 Fringe Festival 2022.

You can catch Where is the Moon? for free on 10 and 11 Sep at PIP’s PLAYbox. Show timings are at 11.45am, 2.30pm, and 4.45pm.

Find out more about Where is the Moon? here.

4. Patterns and Lanterns

Patterns and Lanterns

Build your own paper lanterns and take a journey through an ethereal lantern landscape with Patterns and Lanterns, a tour and craft workshop designed for families. On 10 Sep at the Science Centre Singapore, let museum education Nur’ain Noor Bani walk you through how artist Berny Tan turned memories from the public into a landscape art piece titled a shapeless mass; a network of times. And after you’re done, you can create your own paper lantern to bring home.

Patterns and Lanterns is part of the community-based participatory program, Art in the Commons: Data Visualising Jurong, a collaboration between the Singapore Art Museum and Science Centre Singapore. 

The tour and craft workshop will take place from 11am to 12pm at the Science Centre Singapore, Level 2 Mezzanine Space. The event is free, but requires registration. Admission fees to Science Centre Singapore applies.

Register for Patterns and Lanterns here.

5. Nian Hua: Of Deities, Guardians and Auspicious Art

Nian Hua: Of Deities, Guardians and Auspicious Art

Discover the cultures and beliefs of commoners in China with Nian Hua: Of Deities, Guardians and Auspicious Art at the Sun Yat Sen Nanyang Memorial Hall. In collaboration with the Chongqing China Three Gorges Museum, this exhibit features new-year prints dating from the Qing dynasty to the 1980s.

As these prints feature icons that reflect the popular beliefs and folk customs of the year, they are a window into the rarely-documented values and attitudes of the masses in China across time.

The exhibit is open to the public from 21 Jan to 25 Sep, 10:00am to 5:00pm. Admission is free for Singaporeans and PRs.

Learn more about Nian Hua: Of Deities, Guardians and Auspicious Art here

(Photos: Esplanade, Art in the Commons: Data Visualising Jurong, Sun Yat Sen Nanyang Memorial Hall)

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