Mid-Autumn Lanterns

It’s mid-autumn again, which means that it is time for another Mid-Autum Lantern Festival at Gardens by the Bay!


Despite the haze …


… hundreds of people showed up for this very contemporary take on the traditional Chinese harvest celebration …


… and the gardens were festooned with all sorts of lanterns and other assorted light features. Here, we have an archway called Illuminations of Joy, which celebrates “the creative expressions of our Seniors” (that’s a very Singaporean way of saying that we let the amateurs try their hands at decorating):


There were lanterns everywhere, some in traditional forms …


… some constructed to look like people (here, in a traditional Chinese wedding celebration) …


… complete with musicians and horses …fullsizeoutput_4f74

… and some in the shape of traditional mid-Autumn creatures, including bunny rabbits …


… chickens …


… and leaping koi:


Some of my favorite lanterns this year were the ceramic vases that celebrated the Chinese zodiac, including the year of the dog …


… the rabbit …


… the dragon …


… and the tiger (or what looks more to me like an unusually friendly tiger cub):


I also loved the dragon archway …


… and the dragon itself!


It’s head was awesome with one of the Supertrees behind it:


This lantern festival has a theme every year, and I’m pretty sure that this year’s theme was something along the lines of “traditional stories.” So we had panels in the spirit of Chinese paper cutouts that convey various Confucian values, like filial piety and harmony …



… and a giant lantern display of traditional Chinese puppet shows …


… with characters straight out of a Chinese opera:


We even had the story of Chang’e and the Jade Rabbit told in enormous panels in what was generously dubbed a “giant revolving lantern. The basic story is here is that there’s a hero who knocks down nine extra suns from the sky, saving the world from drought. The Empress (seen here beneath a Supertree) …


… is so impressed by the hero’s feat that she gives him an elixir of immortal life. But our hero loves his wife, Chang’e, so much that he does not want to use the elixir. So he hides the elixir in his house. Then a bad guy appears (looking suspiciously like someone who is not Han Chinese) …


… and Chang’e ends up flying up to the moon …


… but while sad, the whole thing is somehow still ok because she has the Jade Rabbit for companionship (don’t ask me how or why there is a rabbit on the moon — he was not part of the giant revolving lantern tale).


The other storytelling at the festival was laid out along one of garden’s manmade rivers:


This scene is supposed to be reminiscent of a Chinese landscape painting …


… which is fitting, given that the Chinese word for “landscape” is made up of the words for “mountain” and “water.”


The most random piece at the lantern festival this year was called #Airmesh, billed as “the first in the world fully-functional space frame structure using stainless-steel 3D printed components.” I’m not sure how much of a claim to fame that is, but I enjoyed the interactive nature of the thing …


… and its ever-shifting colors:

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Part of the lantern festival is a series of live performances, so I got to hear a few minutes of a troupe that is trying to preserve traditional Chinese music:

This was in stark contrast to the blaring (and often insipid) music of “Garden Rhapsody, a sound and light show that is a Saturday night staple at Gardens by the Bay.

But while I didn’t always love the music, I do love the changing lights in the Supertrees …



… and I am a fan of this Indian tune!




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