Over the moon about Mid-Autumn Festival here

A giant lantern (above) being released into the sky at Kwong Wai Siu Hospital's mid-autumn celebration on its grounds last Saturday. Shaanxi Association president Zhao Bingli (left) and his wife, Shuran, singing at the clan's first Mid-Autumn Festiva
A giant lantern (above) being released into the sky at Kwong Wai Siu Hospital's mid-autumn celebration on its grounds last Saturday. PHOTO: DESMOND FOO, COURTESY OF ZHONG SHURAN
A giant lantern (above) being released into the sky at Kwong Wai Siu Hospital's mid-autumn celebration on its grounds last Saturday. Shaanxi Association president Zhao Bingli (left) and his wife, Shuran, singing at the clan's first Mid-Autumn Festiva
Shaanxi Association president Zhao Bingli (left) and his wife, Shuran, singing at the clan's first Mid-Autumn Festival celebration on Sept 12.PHOTO: DESMOND FOO, COURTESY OF ZHONG SHURAN
Hundreds of lanterns lighting up the compound of Kwong Wai Siu Hosptial during its Mid-Autumn Festival celebration last Saturday. More organisations are holding activities to mark the festival this year.
Hundreds of lanterns lighting up the compound of Kwong Wai Siu Hosptial during its Mid-Autumn Festival celebration last Saturday. More organisations are holding activities to mark the festival this year.ST PHOTO: DESMOND FOO

More groups celebrating the event, making it second-largest Chinese festival in Republic

Shaanxi Association, a Chinese clan association comprising new immigrants from Shaanxi province in north-western China, held its first Mid-Autumn, or Mooncake, Festival celebration here just over a week ago.

More than 200 members and their families, led by its president, Mr Zhao Bingli, 53, gathered at the clubhouse of a condominium in Leonie Hill on Sept 12 for an evening of singing, dancing and feasting.

The Kreta Ayer People's Theatre also celebrated the festival for the first time last weekend, attracting more than 60 senior citizens and many children to its Chinatown premises for fun and games, free mooncakes and drinks.

They are among an increasing number of Chinese clan associations and cultural groups celebrating the traditional Chinese festival on the 15th day of the eighth lunar month, which this year falls on Sunday.

It was originally an autumn harvest festival celebrated by farmers in ancient China.

Mr Mark Mah, 57, executive director of Singapore Federation of Chinese Clan Associations (SFCCA), who was at Shaanxi Association's event, said many smaller Chinese clans and community groups have been joining the bigger ones in the celebrations in recent years.

GROWING POPULARITY

The Mid-Autumn Festival is a time for reunion and renewal of friendship and kinship as well. I am glad it has grown to be so popular.

MR PATRICK LEE, Kwong Wai Shiu Hospital chairman and SFCCA secretary-general, on the increasing number of celebrations

These include the festival's launch and annual light-up in Chinatown, which took place on Sept 13 this year, and the Mid-Autumn Festival @ Gardens by the Bay, which starts on Friday and ends on Oct 4.

"It is being widely celebrated now, making it the second-largest Chinese festival here, after the Chinese New Year," he said.

Over the weekend, no fewer than 10 other similar events were held.

They include the opening of a nine-day celebration at Lian Shan Shuang Lin Monastery in Toa Payoh, which was attended by more than 4,000 people; Kwong Wai Shiu Hospital's Mid-Autumn celebration and fund-raiser; a 1.4km walkathon at the Sports Hub organised by the Association for Persons with Special Needs with more than 10,000 participants carrying lanterns; and a full-day of festive activities at the Sun Yat Sen Nanyang Memorial Hall.

The Singapore Amoy Association held its eighth annual Mid-Autumn celebration dinner for 1,000 people last Saturday and the Singapore Chinese Chamber of Commerce and Industry had its festive gathering and dinner last Friday. There was also a three-day Mid-Autumn Festival featuring lantern-making, Chinese calligraphy and paper-cutting art demonstrations at Singapore Expo's Hall 6A that ended yesterday.

Kwong Wai Shiu Hospital chairman and SFCCA secretary-general Patrick Lee, 66, said: "The Mid-Autumn Festival is a time for reunion and renewal of friendship and kinship as well. I am glad it has grown to be so popular."

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on September 21, 2015, with the headline 'Over the moon about Mid-Autumn Festival here'. Print Edition | Subscribe