Celebrating Mid-Autumn Festival in Shanghai
Customs of Mid-Autumn Festival in Shanghai include worshiping the moon and burning incense. When the moon rises, people set tables in the open air and offer mooncakes, melons, fruit, green soybeans, taro, lotus roots and so on. Moon Palace magical figure paintings show the Jade Hare standing with a club are offered as well. In ancient times, it was said the moon belonged to yin (the female part of the yin-yang philosophy), so in the full moon celebration women worshipped the moon first, then the men. It was also said that "Men needn't celebrate the full moon". When the full moon celebration is done, family members drink reunion wine and have an admiration-of-the-moon dinner. A woman lodging at her parental home must return to her husband's family on the evening of the Moon Festival to celebrate the Mid-autumn Festival. Going on a walk and admiring the full moon is called "zou yueliang" (‘moon walking’) by Shanghainese. Women taking a walk at night with friends is called "ta yue” (a moonlight stroll). Lujia Stone Bridge is outside Xiaodongmen, Shanghai, under which the reflection of the bright moon bobbling in the water contrasts adorably with the shining moon in the sky. So tourists come like hungry carp, rushing to watch. This is one of the "Top Eight Scenic Spots in Shanghai"
There is a custom of incense altars (called shaoxiang dou) among Shanghai people. The incense altars, also called douxiang, are made by traditional offerings shops, in a truncated square-based pyramid shape, standing large end up. Large ones are more than two feet wide. Muslin is pasted around the altar, and there are decorative images of the Moon Palace and pavilions. Some xiangdous are made by weaving joss sticks. On the altar are things like the Dragon Gate and Kuixing (the Daoist god of fate). Above are colorful banners and flags. In Shanghai, the most magnificent scene of incense altars on Mid-Autumn Festival is always in Nanyuan ('South Garden'). Abutments of many great bridges in and around the city are lit by special large xiangdous.
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Places to Celebrate Mid-autumn Festival in Shanghai
Oriental Pearl TV Tower 东方明珠塔
The Oriental Pearl TV Tower is 468 meters (1540 ft) high, the highest tower in Asia and the third highest in the world. The interior of the tower houses a variety of activities, from a hotel near the top to a revolving restaurant at the 267-meter (876-foot) level, to shops and cafes. On almost any level above the base, one can get a fabulous view of the city as it stretches out toward the horizon. Family and lovers can have a unique dinner at the revolving restaurant, and then take an elevator to the top of the building to have a closer look at the moon.
Jin Mao Tower 金茂大厦
Towering 420.5 meters (1380 ft) above the ground, the Jinmao Tower is the second highest building in China next to the Shanghai Financial Center. If you want to have a clearer sight of the moon during the Mid-Autumn Festival, the tower is doubtless your first choice. There is an observation platform at the 88th floor, the highest floor. In addition to the view of the moon, you can also gain a sensational panoramic view of the city’s skyline as the spectacular lights of its immense towers dance in unison.
The Bund 外滩
The Bund is probably the most popular place to celebrate the Mid-Autumn Festival, partly due to its relatively tranquil atmosphere, and partly due to the many restaurants and tea houses along it. The water front area sees families and friends having a leisurely walk, enjoying the night scenery on the banks of the Huangpu River each year during the Mid-Autumn Festival.
South Binjiang Road (南滨江路) at Pudong is filled with bars and restaurants. Enjoying the Mid-Autumn Festival by sipping a cup of delicious wine with your beloved or having a hearty dinner with your family will make this year’s festival special. The prosperity and night scenery of the Huangpu River are within your view. You may also board a cruise boat on the Huangpu River and enjoy the scenery of the gorgeous lights dancing together with the moon in the sky.
In ancient times it was tradition to celebrate the Mid-Autumn Festival drinking alcohol under osmanthus trees. Although it had been largely abandoned, this practice is still followed by some old people. If you are interested in this old way of festival celebration, you may consider going to one of the following parks: Guilin Park, Yuyuan Garden or Shanghai botanical garden. These parks grow a lot of osmanthus trees. There have been performances and other entertainments in the parks during the festival in past years. No information is available for this year’s arrangement. We will update this information as soon as the arrangement is made public.
Sheshan is one of the most popular places for local Shanghai families to spend their Mid-Autumn Festival. Locals like to enjoy a fun day time at Happy Valley, and stay at the Le Royal Meridien Shanghai, and watch the moon at the lakeside at night. In addition, there is an observatory at the top of the mountain for astronomy lovers to have a closer and clearer look at the moon.
The town is lit by lanterns hanging by old houses on the Mid-Autumn Festival night. Spend a quite Mid-Autumn Festival by sipping tea at one of the small riverside tea houses with family or friends.
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I updated this article on February 28, 2014
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