By Huang Lijie
It is no longer just mooncake retailers who are getting creative for the Mid-Autumn festival, upping the ante year after year with fantastical flavours (beetroot gula melaka, or foie gras and truffle oil, anyone?). Arts and culture groups are also getting into the act, offering fresh, tantalising ways to mark the celebration and have modern audiences connect with the occasion.
For example, homegrown music group TENG Ensemble plans to dazzle audiences with its East-meets-West rendition of lunar-themed songs at its Mid-Autumn festival showcase at VivoCity. Its programme includes the King of Pop’s Moonwalker theme song and other popular tunes such as Fly Me To The Moon, and The Moon Represents My Heart.
The festival, which falls on the 15th day of the eighth lunar month – 24 Sep this year – coincides with a full moon. Its roots stretch back to a legend about Chang’e, a woman who ascended to the moon as a goddess after taking an elixir of immortality, and whom people later worshipped for good fortune.
The festival is traditionally celebrated as a time of family reunion, over mooncakes and activities such as lantern carrying. However, the distant cultural origin of the festival has made it seemingly less relevant to audiences today. Indeed, some people regard the celebration as a purely gastronomical one, given the ubiquity of mooncakes during this period.