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A Mid-Autumn Festival in Singapore Celebrates the Moon

A Mid-Autumn Festival takes place at the Science Centre Observatory in Singapore. 

Have you ever looked at the moon and thought it seemed bigger or brighter than usual?  If so, it may have been a supermoon. “The supermoon phenomenon occurs when the moon’s orbit is closer to our planet, making a full moon appear larger and brighter,” says Jia Yi Chee, a scientist at the Science Centre Observatory in Singapore.

Supermoons can be categorized as blue, blood, harvest or pink. The most recent one to occur was the harvest moon. 

In Chinese culture, a Mid-Autumn Festival, also called a Lantern or Mooncake Festival, takes place each year during the harvest moon. This year, the supermoon occurred on September 29. Millions of people around the world, mostly in Asia, went outside to appreciate the moon with their families and friends.


During the festival, people eat mooncakes and other round foods to honor the harvest moon. 


The naming of the harvest moon dates back thousands of years. In ancient societies, the moon phases served as a marker for planting and harvesting. Long before electricity, the moon illuminated nighttime agricultural activities. 

“The harvest moon rises earlier in the evening than the moon does in other months,” Chee explained. “This abundance of moonlight early in the evening was beneficial to farmers and harvesting crews as they gathered their summer crops.”

Understanding the cycles of the supermoons was important to the people of Ancient China, even though they didn’t have telescopes.

“Ancient Chinese astronomers observed the moon’s phases, positions, and movements,” Chee said. “This information was crucial for developing lunisolar calendars, predicting eclipses, and understanding the moon’s role in society.” Lunisolar calendars divide the year according to phases of the moon. 

To show their respect and thankfulness for the harvest moon during the Mid-Autumn Festival, people eat round or circular foods, including mooncakes. Participants of all ages wave lanterns and light sparklers under the full moon.

September’s harvest moon was the last supermoon of 2023. Look out for the next supermoon in 2024. 


During the festival, it’s traditional to display lanterns and light fireworks. 


Photos courtesy of the author