Guangzhou Travel Guide

Discover Guangzhou Self Guided Book is written by Janvi Tours, formerly Guangzhou Private Tour Guide Janvi or Guangzhou Tour Guide Janvi

Written by J. C.
Published August 2018

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Home Travel Guide Festivals and Events Mid-Autumn Festival

Mid-Autumn Festival

Mid-Autumn Festival in Guangzhou

Mid-Autumn Festival is on the 15th day of 8th lunar month, usually in September or October. It is one of the three lantern festivals in China. In old times, lanterns were placed on the river to float during the Festival. Mid-Autumn lanterns are popular mainly in south China. One of the more interesting Mid-Autumn Festival customs in Guangzhou is hanging up lanterns. There are various kinds of festival lanterns, including sesame lanterns, eggshell lanterns, rice straw lanterns, fish scale lanterns and husk lanterns. In addition to the paper lanterns which are made for children, there are many other simple lanterns, such as pumpkin lanterns and orange lanterns.

Guangzhou people consider Mid-Autumn Festival a major family-reunion day, no less important than Spring Festival, the logic is that most celebrations are held at night. River snails are traditionally an indispensable food of a Mid-Autumn Festival dinner for people in Guangzhou. River snails are usually cooked with medicinal herbs to dispel the unpleasant smell of the snails. Eating river snails during the Mid-Autumn Festival is believed to help brighten the eyes.

Moon Festival, because of the celebration's association with the full moon on this night, as well as the traditions of moon worship and moon gazing. In the evening families enjoy reunion dinners together, and then go out to bask in the moonlight. Also, they erect a bamboo pole in front of the door on which colorful lamps and lanterns are hung. Offerings to the moon include moon cakes, shaddocks, taros, water chestnuts and bananas. After the ceremony, families eat porridge and river snails, and chat together until midnight.

Mid-Autumn Festival Lanterns in Guangzhou Cultural Park

The Mid-Autumn Lantern Fair will be held at Guangzhou Culture Park. 20 groups of distinct lanterns will be lit. Visitors can also watch various cultural exhibitions and folk art performances.

In the 19th century, the people of Qinghu began performing a dragon dance to stop a run of destroyed by locusts in their crops during The Mid-Autumn Festival. More than a century later, their village has been all but swallowed up by Guangzhou’s fast-growing city. But the dragon keeps on dancing. It has even danced its way onto China’s national list of intangible cultural heritage.

The villagers made a huge dragon from straw and covered it with incense sticks, which they then lit. Accompanied by drummers and erupting firecrackers, they did what they were told and danced for three days and three nights – and the locust flied away.

It takes nearly 300 performers and over 70,000 incense sticks to put on a three-day performance with a 67-metre dragon, which consists of 32 sections and whose head alone weighs 48kg. It is led by men holding up two ‘pearls’, or pomelos with numerous incense sticks inserted into them.

Guangzhou dragon fire danceing