The Mid-Autumn Festival, or called Moon Festival, is the second most important Chinese traditional festival in Hong Kong, following the Chinese New Year. Every year, Hong Kong will celebrate this day with various events and festivities. Amongst all the events, the highlights of 2017 Hong Kong Mid-Autumn Festival Celebrations are Mid-Autumn Lantern Carnivals 2017, 2017 Tai Hang Fire Dragon Dance, 2017 Victoria Park Fire Dragon Dance and Mid-Autumn Thematic Lantern Display in Tsim Sha Tsui.

In case you are in Hong Kong, you should not miss the opportunity to experience this ancient festival with locals.


When is 2017 Mid-Autumn Festival ?

Chinese Mid-Autumn Day is on the 15th day of the 8th lunar month. Thus, every year the actual date is different and it usually falls in September or October. For 2017, the Mid-Autumn Festival is on the 4th of October 2017.

Because Hong Kong citizens usually celebrate the festival at night, thus the second day of Mid-Autumn Festival (5th of October 2017) is the Hong Kong public holiday (2017 Hong Kong Public Holidays).

When and where are 2017 Hong Kong Mid-Autumn Festival Celebrations

Typical Mid-Autumn Festival activities include eating moon cakes, playing lanterns, enjoying lantern display and gazing at the full moon. Across Hong Kong you will find various celebrations including lantern carnivals, exhibitions, traditional performances and other festivities.

In 2017, the major celebrations and events are :

  • 2017 Hong Kong Mid-Autumn Lantern Carnivals and Display – it’s the largest event of all Mid-Autumn cultural programs. Three carnivals are held in different regions, lasting from September 30 – October 7, 2017.

  • 2017 Tai Hang Fire Dragon Dance Celebration – As over a century tradition in Hong Kong, the Fire Dragon Dance is listed as China’s Intangible Cultural Heritage. The a 67-meter-long dragon with over 24,000 incense sticks played by 300 performers in relay is definitely the highlight of this festival. This year’s celebration extends from traditional 3 days to 4 days, from October 3 till October 6, 2017.

  • 2017 Mid-Autumn Thematic Lantern Display – this Mid-Autumn Lantern Display has the longest exhibition time, from September 22 to October 15, 2017.

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2017 Hong Kong Mid-Autumn Lantern Carnivals and Display – Largest Events

There will be three different Mid-Autumn Lantern Carnivals this year in different districts of Hong Kong:
(1) 2017 Urban Mid-Autumn Lantern Carnival (recommended);
(2) New Territories East Mid-Autumn Lantern Carnival 2017;
(3) New Territories West Mid-Autumn Lantern Carnival 2017;

All of the three carnivals consist of “Lantern Display“, “Carnival Night” and “Youth Night“. It’s a great opportunity to sample the traditions of Hong Kong when it comes to Mid-Autumn Festival celebrations.


1. 2017 Urban Mid-Autumn Lantern Carnival
Victoria Park (Hong Kong Island)

The largest and most popular one in Hong Kong

Among all of the carnivals, The “Urban Mid-Autumn Lantern Carnival” in Victoria Park is always the best. Not only because it has the largest lantern exhibition and the most convenient location, but also you will have chance to enjoy one of the Hong Kong Intangible Cultural Heritage – Tai Hang Fire Dragon Dance.

Far from Victoria Park, you will already notice the bright and glowing lanterns in the dark. Victoria Park has hundred of traditional lanterns displayed every year. The design of the theme varies in different years. In 2017, the lantern display starts from September 30 – October 8, 2017. It probably will be the event with the most visitors among all the 2017 Hong Kong Mid-Autumn Festival Celebrations.

Victoria Park Lantern Display

2017 Hong Kong Mid-Autumn Festival Celebrations - Mid-Autumn Lantern Display in Victoria Park

Mid-Autumn Lantern Display in Victoria Park

The theme in last year was about the attractions in Hong Kong. Thus you could find many lanterns featured with the famous Hong Kong landmarks.

Mid-Autumn Lantern Display in Victoria Park

Three little pigs on Ngong Ping Cable Car lantern (2016)

Mid-Autumn Lantern Display in Victoria Park

Victoria Peak Tower lantern (2016)

Mid-Autumn Lantern Display in Victoria Park

Elephant and Alpaca lanterns in Victoria Park (2016)

Mid-Autumn Lantern Display in Victoria Park

Orange lanterns in Victoria Park (2016)

Victoria Park Fire Dragon Dance

Besides the lantern display, the Tai Hang Fire Dragon Dance in Victoria Park is undoubtedly the highlight. The original fire dragon is from Tai Hang (several blocks away from Victoria Park). In order to let more citizens get to know and enjoy this heritage tradition, government invites Tai Hang Fire Dragon team to perform also in Victoria Park. The fire dragon usually arrives around 10:30pm and the ritual starts around 10:45pm.

Mid-Autumn Fire Dragon Dance in Victoria Park

Mid-Autumn Fire Dragon Dance in Victoria Park

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Due to limited space, the Victoria Park’ Fire Dragon Dance is not as wonderful as in Tai Hang. The fire dragon’s movement and the atmosphere also are less. If you would like to experience the original Hong Kong Fire Dragon Dance, you must visit Tai Hang.

Victoria Park Lantern Night Carnival

On the October 4, 2017, there will be also Chinese dance, singing and acrobatics performance, game stalls, markets and many more during the Mid-Autumn Carnival Night.

Chinese dance on Mid-Autumn Carnival Night

Chinese dance on Mid-Autumn Carnival Night

Chinese acrobatics on Mid-Autumn Carnival Night

Chinese acrobatics on Mid-Autumn Carnival Night

Riddle game on Mid-Autumn Carnival Night

Riddle game on Mid-Autumn Carnival Night

box-info2 General Info and Details

2017 Urban Mid-Autumn Lantern Display
(highly recommended)

schedule  September 30 – October 8, 2017 (Sat & Sun)
clock  6:30pm – 11:00pm (extended to midnight on October 4, 2017)
Smile  Lantern themes:
    (1) Fly Me to the Moon
    (2) Under the Same Starry Sky
    (3) Lovely Pandas and the Moon
    (4) Pairs and Pairs
    (5) Cute Tennis Players Under the Stars

2017 Urban Mid-Autumn Lantern Carnival Night
(highly recommended)

schedule  October 4, 2017
clock  8:00pm – 11:00pm
Smile  Shows and Fun:
    (1) Chinese Orchestral Concert (Hong Kong Chinese Orchestra)
    (2) Chinese Ethnic Songs, Dance and Acrobatics from Jiangsu Arts Troupe
    (3) Trampoline, Latin Dance, Opera Excerpts, Jazz Band, Marching Band etc.
    (4) Lantern Riddle Quiz
    (5) Folk Craft Demonstrations (Embroidery, Inside Painting of Snuff Bottles, Birdcage Production, Hakka Band Knitting)

2017 Fire Dragon Dance in Victoria Park (from Tai Hang)
(highly recommended)

schedule  October 4, 2017
clock  10:30pm – 11:30pm

2017 Urban Mid-Autumn Youth Night

schedule  October 5, 2017
clock  7:30pm – 9:30pm
Smile  (1) Orchestral Concert (Hong Kong Junior Chinese Orchestra)
    (2) Diabolo and Juggling
    (3) Band Performance
    (4) Street Dance
    (5) A Cappella


map  Victoria Park, Causeway Bay, Hong Kong Island
Price  Free Admission for All

How to get to Victoria Park ?

train-2-48  By Subway: The most convenient way is to take the MTR to Causeway Bay station or Tin Hau station.

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In case the Urban Mid-Autumn Lantern Display in Causeway Bay is to crowded, you might want to take closer look at the next two options.

2. New Territories East Mid-Autumn Lantern Carnival
Sha Tin Park (New Territories)

The New Territories East Mid-Autumn Lantern Carnival in Sha Tin Park is a little bit far away from city center. But if you are staying in Hyatt Regency Kong Kong, Royal Park Hotel, or planning to visit Ten Thousand Buddha Monastery, it is then very close by. Check out the schedule and show lists of 2017 New Territories East Mid-Autumn Lantern Carnival.

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3. New Territories West Mid-Autumn Lantern Carnival
Tsing Yi Park (New Territories)

Another option for getting away from the crowds in Urban Mid-Autumn Lantern Carnival is the one in Tsing Yi Park. As it is also located in New Territories, it is far away from downtown. In case you are interested, here is the schedule and show lists of 2017 New Territories West Mid-Autumn Lantern Carnival.

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2017 Tai Hang Fire Dragon Dance Celebration – China’s Intangible Cultural Heritage

If you thought the Mid-Autumn Festival Celebration is only about lantern exhibition, carnivals and moon cakes, then you are about to miss another very unique and important celebration – Tai Hang Fire Dragon Dance, the one-of-a-kind spectacle.

box-info2 Do You Know

There are actually three traditional Fire Dragon Dance in Hong Kong around Mid-Autumn Festival every year : The Tai Hang Fire Dragon Dance, The Victoria Park Fire Dragon Dance and The Pok Fu Lam Fire Dragon Dance. The best is always the original one in Tai Hang.

Hong Kong is famous for her Dragon Dance and Lion Dance. However, only a few locals know that Hong Kong also has Fire Dragon Dance and fewer have ever watched themselves. 

Over a century ago, the Fire Dragon Dance saved lives of Tai Hang village from a deadly plague and then was kept by the villagers as a tradition. Today, this local cultural tradition is listed onto China’s third national list of intangible cultural heritage.

2017 Hong Kong Mid-Autumn Festival Celebrations - Tai Hang Fire Dragon Dance Mid-Autumn Festival Hong Kong

Dragon pearls full of burning incense sticks spinning and glowing in the dark

Why is Tai Hang Fire Dragon Dance spectacular?

If you have watched Tai Hang Fire dragon Dance, you will agree that it is definitely the highlight of all the 2017 Hong Kong Mid-Autumn Festival Celebrations. Can you imagine a 67-meter-long dragon, made of over 24,000 incense sticks and played by 300 strong performers in turns? All the incense are burning and glowing in the dark, making it a literarily fire dragon. When dancing up and down, left and right, it generates fascinating light trails. And how long is the dragon? From the head of dragon to its tail, it takes about half minute to pass by you through the narrow streets of Tai Hang. Only alone the head of dragon is about 45 kilograms. 300 teammates, from 16-year old to 80-year old, are working together to ensure this annual event’s success.

Tai Hang Fire Dragon Dance Mid-Autumn Festival Hong Kong

Tai Hang Fire Dragon Dance

What to expect from Tai Hang Fire Dragon Dance?

Tai Hang Fire Dragon Dance starts usually with some warm-up performances. Lanterns written with Chinese characters “Tai Hang Fire Dragon Dance” is to announce the start of dragon dance.

Tai Hang Fire Dragon Dance Mid-Autumn Festival Hong Kong

Lanterns to announce the start of Fire Dragon Dance ritual

Accompanied with the roar of the drums and gongs,the fire Dragon is led by two large fire pearls, which are actually pomelos inserted with numerous incense sticks. Two strong men twirl the two pearls up and down and create pretty light traces.

Tai Hang Fire Dragon Dance Mid-Autumn Festival Hong Kong

Fire Dragon follows burning incense pearls

The fire dragon head and body are very heavy that the performances have to play it in turns.

Tai Hang Fire Dragon Dance Mid-Autumn Festival Hong Kong

Fire Dragon Dance needs great team work

If you would like to experience this heritage event, remember to find out the route of Tai Hang Fire Dragon Dance and the vantage spots to watch it.

box-info2 General Info and Details

schedule  October 3 – 6, 2017
clock  8:15pm – 10:30pm (October 3-5) / 8:15pm – 10:00pm (October 6)
map  Tai Hang, Causeway Bay (along Lily Street, Ormsby Street to Tung Lo Wan Road)
Price Free Admission

How to Get to the Tai Hang Fire Dragon Dance?

train-2-48By Subway: The most convenient way is to take MTR to Tin Hau station and exit through A1. Cross King’s Road and walk through Fire Dragon Path. You will find the lanterns and flags on the way leading you to Tai Hang.

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2017 The Fire Dragon of Pok Fu Lam Village

Besides, Tai Hang, Pok Fu Lam Village is another village with traditional Fire Dragon Dance on the Mid-Autumn Festival. Pok Fu Lam Village is a over 200-year village on the south Hong Kong Island with a hodge-podge of squatter sheds and shelters. Their history of Fire Dragon Dance has also over 100 year history. Moreover, Pok Fu Lam Village itself is also under the promotion of Unesco since 2011 because it may disappear due to urban redevelopment.

Every year, a giant fire dragon will fly through every alley of this small village and bring blessing to the people. There are also many other traditional celebration during this time. The only difference is the length of fire dragon in Pok Fu Lam is only one third of the dragon in Tai Hang.

Check out more information about the route of Pok Fu Lam Fire Dragon Dance and where are the best spot to watch it.

box-info2 General Info and Details

schedule  October 4, 2017
clock  6:30pm – 11:45pm
map  Along Pok Fu Lam Village and Waterfall Bay
Price Free Admission

How to Get to the Pok Fu Lam Fire Dragon Dance?

train-2-48By Subway: The most convenient way is to take MTR to Hong Kong University station and change to bus 4, 7, 40, 40M, 90B, 970 or 970X to Pok Fu Lam Village;
Or in Tsim Sha Tsui take bus 973 (Mody Road or Canton Road) to Pok Fu Lam Village;

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2017 Mid-Autumn Thematic Lantern Display – Tsim Sha Tsui Waterfront (annually)

Every year, special designed lanterns will be set up either in the fountains/ponds next to the Clock Tower, or around the pond of Hong Kong Space Museum. Starting from September 22, 2017, it is the earliest public event of the 2017 Hong Kong Mid-Autumn Festival Celebrations.

This year’s theme is “Enchanted Blossom under the Moon”. Great lanterns will light up with stunning night view of Victoria Harbour as background. It’s definitely a unique opportunity for photo shooting.

2017 Hong Kong Mid-Autumn Festival Exhibition Near Clock Tower TST

2017 “Enchanted Blossom under the Moon” theme

2017 Hong Kong Mid-Autumn Festival Exhibition Near Clock Tower TST

2017 “Enchanted Blossom under the Moon” theme

2017 Hong Kong Mid-Autumn Festival Exhibition Near Clock Tower TST

Lantern close to Clock Tower lit up at night

2017 Hong Kong Mid-Autumn Festival Exhibition Near Clock Tower TST

Lantern close to Clock Tower lit up at night


Photo gallery of Mid-Autumn Festival Thematic Lantern Display in the past years

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2017 Mid-Autumn Thematic Lantern Display: Enchanted Blossom under the Moon

schedule  September 22 – October 15, 2017 (Fri to Sun)
clock  6:30pm – 11:00pm (extended to midnight on October 4, 2017)
map  Hong Kong Cultural Centre Piazza, Tsim Sha Tsui, Kowloon
Price  Free Admission

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Lee Tung Avenue Mid-Autumn Festival 2017

Lee Tung Avenue Mid-Autumn Festival is an annual festivity in Hong Kong since 2015. Every Mid-Autumn Festival, this former famous Wedding Card Street will decorated with lights and lanterns, transforming the walkway to a light feast.

Museum of the Moon Exhibition - Lee Tung Avenue

Museum of the Moon Exhibition – Lee Tung Avenue

This year, you can enjoy

  • Luke Jerram’s Museum of the Moon Exhibition
    (September 28 – October 31, 2017)
    It’s the first exhibition in Asia. The 7-meter diameter moon will hang over Lee Tung Avenue.
  • LED-lighted Fire Dragon Fiesta 2017
    (October 4 & 5, 2017)
    A 70-feet LED-lighted fire dragon redefines the traditional fire dragon
  • Traditional Mid-Autumn Market
    (October 4 & 5, 2017)
    Lantern crafting workshop and candy art demonstration
  • Lee Tung Avenue Mid-Autumn Festival Concert
    (October 5, 2017)
    Enjoy the performances from the Yat Po Singers and the Samson Chinese Band

For more details of Lee Tung Avenue Mid-Autumn Festival and where to enjoy the festivities, check out Lee Tung Avenue Mid-Autumn Festival 2017.

Mid-Autumn Festival LED Dragon Dance in Lee Tung Avenue

Mid-Autumn Festival LED Fire Dragon Dance in Lee Tung Avenue

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Mid-Autumn Festival – an ancient tradition of Chinese

As one of the oldest festival, the origin of Mid-Autumn festival celebration can be traced back to Tang Dynasty of China (around 600AD). One story says it was the day for ritual activities of the Chinese ancient emperors to lunar god. Another story links the Mid-Autumn Day to agriculture. Autumn is the harvest season and the 15th day of the 8th lunar month is the middle day of autumn. Thus, on this day, farmers would celebrate the harvest, express their joy and show respect to the Lord of the Soil.

Besides, on the Mid-Autumn Day, the moon is full and bright, representing the reunion. Therefore, till today, the Mid-Autumn Festival is a festival when the families get together, reunite, have dinner and some festival food (similar to western Thanksgiving).

In case you wonder, this is also a very important festival for countries like Japan, South Korean, Vietnam and Ryukyusu due to the deep influence by ancient China. Even Google will use a special banner on their homepage on this day. According to Chinese mythology, there are a fairy lady (goddess) and a rabbit living in the Palace of Moon. Thus, during this festival, you will find a lot of symbols and packages printed with a rabbit or/and a lady.

Banner of Google about Mid-Autumn Day

Google celebrates Mid-Autumn Festival

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Other Hong Kong culture by locals on Mid-Autumn Festival

Playing lanterns

Besides visiting the lantern carnivals, locals love to purchase various lanterns, nevertheless adults or children. The traditional lanterns are goldfish lantern, starfruit lantern and rabbit lantern. It has been printed on the back of HSBC 20-dollar bill.

Bank note with traditional lanterns in Mid-Autumn Festival

Bank note with traditional lanterns in Mid-Autumn Festival

Lanterns for Hong Kong Mid-Autumn Festival

Lanterns for Hong Kong Mid-Autumn Festival

Eating mooncakes

Eating mooncakes during Mid-Autumn Day is a must-do for all the Hong Kong locals. Due to the round shape of mooncake, it represents the reunion of the families. Presenting boxes of mooncakes to friends and families on Mid-Autumn Festival is the oldest tradition with the best wishes.

China has actually four major styles of mooncakes with different tastes and fillings. Hong Kong’s traditional mooncake is about 10cm in diameter and 4-5 cm thick. The main traditional fillings are lotus seed paste, sweet bean paste or the salted duck egg yolks. However, in recent years, new types of mooncakes start to be trendy.

  • Icy mooncake (snowy mooncake): it’s called mooncake only because its appearance resemblance of moonlike. It is not technically baked food. The crusts of mooncakes changes to glutinous rice skin and the filling of icy moonlike change to fruits. It becomes very poplar due to the less calorie, sugar and oil.
  • Ice-cream mooncake: it is a ice-cream made to mooncake shape. The most famous one is from Häagen-Dazs.
Häagen-Dazs ice-cream mooncake in Mid-Autumn Festival

Häagen-Dazs ice-cream mooncake in Mid-Autumn Festival
(Photo source: Häagen-Dazs)