Home Beijing Beijing Festivals The Mid-Autumn Festival in Beijing

The Mid-Autumn Festival in Beijing

  • Celebrated: Sep. 13
  • Location: Beijing

China is changing rapidly and Beijing is a thermostat for this. Find out the popular places to go for Mid-Autumn now, and interesting Mid-Autumn traditions that are now hard to find, blow…

9 Places in Beijing to Celebrate Mid-Autumn Festival

These places will give you wonderful insight into Chinese culture, if you happen to be in Beijing for Mid-Autumn.

1. Marco Polo Bridge Temple Fair 卢沟桥

temple fairTemple Fair.

A temple fair is held at Wanping Town east of Lugou Bridge (Marco Polo Bridge) each year to celebrate the Mid-Autumn Festival.

The temple fair is a kind of traditional cultural event, which features all kinds of Chinese folk art. The event is usually held on festive or specified days, such as during the Chinese New Year. See more information on Beijing Temple Fairs.

A visit to a temple fair is a cultural experience, with a great chance to watch and appreciate Chinese traditional folk art, such as performances of lion and dragon dances, and demonstrations of traditional arts and crafts. In addition, it provides a good opportunity to experience the local lifestyle by rubbing shoulders with the locals.

  • Location: 15 km (10 miles) southwest of Tian'anmen Square, Fengtai District.

2. The CCTV Tower 中央电视塔

The CCTV Tower is 385 meters (1260 ft) high. 221 meters up (725 ft) is a revolving restaurant. It serves a Western buffet (mainly French and Italian), Chinese and Japanese styles, together with various barbeques, for a moon-view Mid-Autumn meal.

There is a viewing platform at 238 meters (781 ft) up. Telescopes have been set up in each direction for visitors to have a clear elevated view of Beijing and the moon.

  • Location: West Third Ringroad Central, Haidian District.

3. Beihai Park 北海公园

beihai parkBeihai Park.

Beihai Park was chosen by generations of Chinese emperors and high officials to watch the moon during the Mid-Autumn Festival.

Beijing locals like to take a cruise on the lake to take in the night scenery on the banks, and the moon reflection in the water. The park will stay open until 9pm that night. A variety of boats are available for use for the festival.

  • Location: northwest of the Forbidden City, Xicheng District

4. Shichahai 什刹海

Shichahai is the oldest water area within Beijing. As night falls, wooden boats travel elegantly on the water. In the boat, a woman in qipao plays a traditional Chinese musical instrument. Mooncakes and tea are served.

The boat company may raise prices for the boat cruise during the Mid-Autumn Festival. Advance bookings are needed as the demand is great.

  • Location: north of Beihai, Xicheng District.

5. Yangtaishan 阳台山

Yangtaishan is well-known for its full moon during the Mid-Autumn Festival evening. Friends and family can walk along the tree-lined paths, enjoying the fresh air, or they can go fishing or set up campfire by Riyuehu, ‘Sun and Moon Lake'.

  • Location: 30 km (20 miles) northwest of Tian'anmen, in Haidian District.

6. Dajue Temple 大觉寺

Dajue Temple0Dajue Temple

Dajue Temple is located at the southern foot of Yangtaishan in the west suburbs of Beijing. The temple was built in 1068. On the temple grounds, there are over 160 ancient trees, with an old gingko tree over 1000 years old. Fresh water from the spring is collected in the Dragon Pool and runs in little channels through the temple grounds, giving it a pleasant atmosphere.

Minghui Teahouse sits in a quiet, carefully renovated courtyard of the temple. The teahouse provides Shaoxing-style buffet dinners and traditional music performances. During the Mid-Autumn Festival visitors can enjoy themselves with good food and sweet tea under the full moon.

7. The Summer Palace 颐和园

the summer palaceThe Summer Palace.

It is customary for local Beijingers to go to the Summer Palace to see the osmanthus flowers during the Mid-Autumn Festival.

A less-known attraction in the Summer Palace, the 72 ancient osmanthus trees make their contributions to the beauty of the imperial garden by their sweet flowers in fall. Family and friends can opt for a walk among the osmanthus trees, or take a boat ride along the lakes to enjoy the lakeside scenery.

Boat rides during the Mid-Autumn Festival are very popular and are usually short of demand, so booking in advance is recommended.

8. Gubei Water Town

Gubei Water Town, in Miyuan County, is a large-scale sightseeing and holiday destination. The architecture in there is unique with the combination of Gubei Town and the Simatai section of the Great Wall.

At night the town is lit up festively,and you can have a night trip to the Great Wall. There are also many free performances including Chinese opera in the middle of the town and musical fountains around the water town.

9. Huanghuacheng Lakeside Great Wall

lakeside great wallHuanghuacheng Lakeside Great Wall.

Huanghuacheng's Great Wall area is a famous tourist resort in Beijing, combining mountains, lakes, and ancient Great Wall of legendary solidity. It has been a popular section for hikers in recent years. It provides a challenge for hikers because the paths are steep and out of repair.

Here you can see the essence of the Great Wall built in the Ming Dynasty (1368-1644). This section's wild wall is pristine, and hasn't been repaired like the Badaling Section.

Ancient architecture, water, and hills provide an idyllic Mid-Autumn setting. You can take a boat on the lake to appreciate the Great Wall on the surrounding mountains. Or you could hike around the lake and across the dam instead of climbing the mountains.

4 Sadly Disappearing Mid-Autumn Traditions in Beijing

Most of the following customs have been forsaken with the modernization of the city. Today, they are only practiced by those who strive to keep their centuries-old traditions alive.

1. Worshiping the Moon

In old days, a platform for moon worshipping was set up in each house when the Mid-Autumn Festival approached.

The offerings on the platform were mainly mooncakes and sometimes fruits were added. Fruits were meticulously arranged according to tradition. Peaches and pomegranates were traditionally put together, which symbolized big families; chestnuts and persimmons were arranged together, symbolizing prosperity; and longans were sprinkled, meaning family unity.

For families with members far away from home, a bowl of lotus roots was laid, which expressed that the people away were missed.

2. Viewing the Moon

Watching the moon was very popular in Beijing. There are two methods of moon-gazing: watching the moon directly and watching the reflection of the moon in water.

Other entertainments accompanying watching the moon included writing prose, painting the moon and guessing riddles written on lanterns.

3. Flowers Displays

A "flower mountain" made up of pots of various flowers was set up on the window sill of each house when the Mid-Autumn Festival was near. On the night of the festival, the family would gather and view the flowers.

4. Playing with Rabbit Figurines

rabbit figurinesRabbit Figurines.

Rabbit figurines are popular Mid-Autumn Festival toys in old Beijing. The figurine is an artistic image of a personified or even deified rabbit based on the legendary jade rabbit on the moon. The figurines are made of clay and come in various shapes, but all are white-faced, wearing golden helmets and armors, with flags or canopies on the back. They ride such animals as lions, tigers, deer and elephants.

Rabbit figurines began to appear in markets from early in the eighth Chinese month (somewhere in the period late August to late September).They were once the most popular items in the month of the Mid-Autumn Festival.

Nowadays, rabbit figurines have been gradually forgotten. The only places where they are likely to be seen are folk culture museums and art shops.

Touring Beijing around Mid-Autumn Festival

If you are planning to visit the places mentioned above or other places in Beijing to experience the Mid-Autumn Festival, China Highlights can offer you our assistance. Contact us and we can help you arrange a tour according to your requirements.

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