Known elsewhere around the world as the Mid-Autumn Festival, Mooncake Festival, Lantern Festival or Zhongqiu Festival, the Bangkok Moon Festival is a celebration enjoyed by all; offering an opportunity to waltz into a gourmet market or bakery and sample the wide array of seasonally themed pastries. Regardless of your personal taste, there is a mooncake flavor to suit your desire, whether it’s coffee, prune, roasted chestnut, green tea or the more bizarre varieties like ham, ginseng, peanut butter and even ice cream. Luckily, these delicacies are so popular that they are available year round, so you’ll be able to sample them even if you miss out on the main event.
With origins that are believed to be rooted in the tradition of making sacrifices to the Moon Goddess for a bountiful year’s end harvest, the modern incarnation offers a chance for revelers to commune under the stars with relatives, bosses, customers, friends and new-found acquaintances.
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Today’s event takes place on the full moon night of the 12th lunar month every year, and is seen as a chance to repent of sins and appease the water gods. In Bangkok alone, more than 100,000 banana rafts are launched every year, carrying lights, nail clippings and hair to ensure longevity and the fulfillment of wishes. The river sparkles with rafts, incense sticks and fireworks.
The best place to celebrate the festival is in Chinatown. Special activities are arranged in the area around the Chinatown Gate. The festivities include demonstrations of the making of mooncakes, musical performances and special exhibitions.