As a country with most of the people being the Chinese, Singapore has long been the place where the Mid-Autumn Day is attached importance to. It is the time for them to greet each other and express their gratitude. As friends, relatives or business partners, they send moon cakes to each other to express their gracious greetings and good wishes.
The Chinese have lived in Singapore for over five generations, but Mid-Autumn Festival customs are different from those in China due to separate development and evolution. It's a tradition for Singaporean children to carry lanterns during the festival.
The lanterns were hand-made in the early days, but are mass-produced and purchased by parents for their children to save time now. The lanterns on sale in stores are high-quality, and of various colors, kinds, and patterns, including round, square, tall, and short ones. Some lanterns are in the shape of animals, and rabbit-shaped ones are the most popular in Singapore.
As Mid-Autumn draws near, you will often hear children's laughter, and you will see children chasing one another while carrying different kinds of colorful lanterns.
The mooncakes that Singaporeans prefer are different from those of China, though both have many similarities in tradition. As the commercial atmosphere becomes more and more intense during the Mid-Autumn Festival, more and more new-style mooncakes have been launched recently in Singapore. Mooncakes with multi-colored outer layers are the most popular ones on the market, which are just like blooming flowers vying with each other for attention. Generally speaking, the color of the mooncakes matches their taste and ingredients. For example: most pink mooncakes are made from taro, and most yellow ones are made from durian. Singaporeans like eating durian-filled mooncakes, which are considered the most native mooncakes in Singapore. Most Singaporeans love durians. Durian cakes are another delicious Mid-Autumn Festival snack. Durian cakes are very common in Southeast Asian countries, but Singapore produces the best ones.
Mid-Autumn Festival is an ideal opportunity to express gratitude by sending mooncakes, especially for office workers, and a piece of well-decorated mooncake is often enough to express one's feelings. Those who are fond of baking at home often bake mooncakes themselves, and send some to their friends, relatives, and colleagues. They are usually much more delicious than the ones sold in stores due to more oil and fresher ingredients.
It's a tradition for Chinese Singaporeans to carry lanterns during the Mid-Autumn Festival, but fewer and fewer people do it now, and hanging lanterns is becoming more and more popular instead.
Colorful lanterns are put up in many places around Singapore one or two weeks before the Mid-Autumn Festival. The most celebrated lantern fair is held by Singapore's River during the festival, when thousands of lanterns are displayed with tens of themes. The themes are often related to Mid-Autumn traditions. The highlights are a life-size Chang E (see the legend of Chang E Flying to the Moon) and Wu Gang (see the legend of Wu Gang Cutting the Cassia Tree). As night falls with all the colorful lights on, Singapore takes on a new look, which is seldom seen in other parts of the world.
Themes for the Mid-Autumn Festival are becoming more and more rich and colorful to attract more young people. Various kinds of cartoons are shown, including dinosaurs, pandas, sharks, dolphins, and tigers. Wish-making lanterns are also launched during the festival, attracting more young couples to participate. Lantern riddle-solving is another highlight of the festival, and those who figure out the answers to the riddles are highly rewarded, adding another layer of interest to the festival.
Some people appreciate the moon by the seashore during the Mid-Autumn Festival. It only takes an hour and a half from any part of Singapore to the sea. As a full moon seemingly pops out from the sea and shines bright on the water, it's an amazing sight, reminding some of the description by a famous poet: 'The bright moon rising over the sea, marks a moment of earthly sublimity."