Friday, September 9, 2011

China field trips: Mid-Autumn Festival celebrations

Singapore is hopping with Mid-Autumn Festival activities and we've been trying to take advantage of as many as we can.  Last weekend, we had two outings, one to the Lantern Festival at the Chinese Gardens and the other to a neighborhood celebration of the Festival.  Seeing these events brought to life our two Festival books - Thanking the Moon and Lin Yi's Lantern.  In case you don't have celebrations in your backyard like we do here, here's a taste of what we saw and did.  And you can still join in the fun, making your own lanterns or paper moons at home.  

The Chinese Gardens played host to dozens of larger-than-life lantern sculptures, many of which echoed what we've been learning about China.  The Whirl Girl loved meandering along the windy paths with her fellow Singaporeans, as dusk became night (as it quickly does in our equatorial land).  And of course, she couldn't leave empty-handed.  She picked out a lantern of her own, from a myriad of choices (the most popular is the Angry Birds lantern!).  We opted for the one lit by a battery-powered light instead of the more traditional candle-lit lantern.  The combination of tissue paper and fire seemed a little too risky for a 3 1/2-year-old.

lovely lakeside setting, pagodas adorned with lanterns

one of many lantern sculptures depicting Chinese mythological stories
a candle on a table for lighting candle lanterns
one of the 12 Chinese zodiac animals and The Whirl Girl proudly holding her lantern

dragons suspended in the middle of the lake

pandas amidst bamboo (real and fake)

the moon looking down on the festivities

The neighborhood gathering was a fun way to get more involved with the traditions of the Festival.  There was a mooncake-making competition, a pomelo-peeling competition, and a lantern walk around the block. 

making blue snow-skin mooncakes by pushing the dough into a mold (more on mooncakes soon when we make our own this weekend)
trying on costumes
the biggest highlight of all for the princess-obsessed Whirl Girl, a moon fairy on stilts (!) who led the kids around the block for a lantern parade

Up next this weekend: the Lantern Walk through downtown Singapore and a visit to festive Chinatown! 

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