Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Mooncakes Anyone?

So now that "fall" has arrived here in Singapore (not that the temperature has changed a bit)we have set out to experience the Mid-Autumn Festival. Most cultures have harvest festivals, and the Chinese are no exception. Based on Chinese legend and traditions brought to Singapore by their ancestors, the Mid-Autumn Festival is now celebrated yearly in August or September, to commemorate the selfless act of Chang'e, the wife of a merciless ruler. Many centuries ago, she drank the elixir of immortality to put an end to her husband’s evil deeds. The Mid-Autumn Festival is also fondly known as the Lantern or Mooncake Festival because of the festivities that surround the occasion.

The Mid-Autumn Festival is celebrated among both the mainland and the Chinese diaspora. Traditionally, it is an occasion spent with family members, similar to Thanksgiving. We went to capture these timeless fond traditions surrounding the festival by heading to Chinatown, the vibrant hub of the Chinese community, to soak in the upbeat mood. The beautiful giant lantern displays, mini-stalls selling paper lanterns in various shapes and sizes and striking variations of the traditional mooncake delicacy were sure EVERYWHERE!! Lenny, being the culinary adventurous one sampled scrumptious mooncakes (a rectangular box or circle shape thick pastry dough filled with yummy ingredients) in traditional flavors like lotus and egg yolk and in exotic varieties like durian, chocolate, coffee and ice-cream. Here was our "view" of this beautiful festival:

Entrance into the festival at Ngee Ann City:

Havoc that ensues when you can only get this delicacy once a year:

What the boxes of these cakes look like:

Close up of the cake itself:

Just in case you were wondering - YES I did try it but didn't like it....but probably would have gone for more of this if they had had samples - ice cream mooncakes!!

We also headed down to Chinatown to get the more "local" feel of this holiday - here are some pics of that. It's decorated with lanterns EVERYWHERE!!!

They also have these fruit that look like a combination of an orange and a grapefruit during this time of year. They are called pomelo and are really good. This is what they look like:

All and all it was a lot of fun.....they sure do know how to have a good time!

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Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Night Festival 2012

What is the Night Festival? It's Singapore's Night Festival promising a nocturnal extravaganza of aerial performances, music and dance.

Here is our vantage point of it: Starting at the Singapore Art Musuem:

Moving on to the random concert of some band that attracted tons of people:

And the spectacle that stole my kids hearts as they stood and watched forever: That would be the lady who was hanging from a crane dancing in the air:

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Update to the Hungry Ghost Festival

So last weekend was the BIG weekend of the Hungry Ghost Festival per the Singapore we set out to gain some culture here. We went to Geylang area of town where they still do the most symbolic festivities for the Hungry Ghost Festival. Here is our experience in pictures: This was a bonfire for the dead:
This was a set of candles that was burning for the dead:
A closeup of one of the candles - so intricately carved:
Here are the people praying for their dead ancestors:
Offerings for the dead:
Here is the boat that brings the offerings I guess?:
Here is our local "giving to the dead" here in Queenstown:

Now - on to the next cultural event - Night Festival!

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