Now that the Hungry Ghosts Festival has passed, Singapore can celebrate life again. Starting from the mid-autumn festival, Singaporean families’ will be gearing up for the holidays until the New Year.
We may have a pandemic to end, but that doesn’t mean we can’t look forward to the festival. The great restaurants around Singapore surely have something exciting in store for families. Thankfully, fully vaccinated people can now dine in restaurants and take off their masks. Unvaccinated people, on the other hand, are welcome in hawker centers and other open-air establishments.
Clearly, the country is well-prepared for the influx of merry-makers in the holidays. But if you’d rather stay at home, your mid-autumn festival won’t be any less fun. Here are some family gathering ideas that will make the celebration unforgettable:
1. Decorate Your Home for the Festival
Since you won’t venture out into the city to see the paper lanterns and other festival decor, adorn your home with them instead. Stock up on traditional mid-autumn festival decor: string lights, paper lanterns, and ornamental mooncake saucers. If your yard is spacious, do your celebration there instead of staying indoors. Viewing the full moon is important during the mid-autumn festival, especially as a family. And with all your decorations, the sightseeing can feel like you’re in the middle of the city. And, of course, you can have Instagram-able photos.
2. DIY Your Paper Lanterns
Instead of buying paper lanterns, consider making them yourself with your family. That way, the kids can cut the papers in any shape they like. If using wax candles will pose a fire hazard, modernize and consider battery-operated lights.
3. Have a Heart-to-Heart Talk
You probably engaged in deep conversations during all the past mid-autumn festivals. But this year, you might have new topics to discuss. It’s the second year of the pandemic, so your family is likely experiencing a second wave of uncertainty. Hence, take the festival as an opportunity to comfort each other. The company of your healthy family and relatives can give you a sense of stability. And if your heart-to-heart conversation is made under the full moon, you can even feel a stroke of optimism.
4. Play Games
Your family gathering doesn’t have to be too formal. Before or after your heart-to-heart talk, enjoy some games. Do the traditional mid-autumn festival dice game, among others. If you’ve lived in Singapore all your life, chances are you know the mechanics of this game. But your young children, nieces, and nephews may not.
If you play the dice game every year, your excitement for it might’ve worn down already, but try to bring it back. Prepare some exciting prizes that both kids and adults will love. Add a twist if you can do it. It will stir your competitive spirit, and the kids can bond with you rather than congregate by themselves.
5. Drink Osmanthus Wine
In China, people drink osmanthus wine during the mid-autumn festival. Try bringing this tradition to your Singaporean family, too. Osmanthus wine is a sweet, sour, and high-quality rice wine. Even non-drinkers will like it. It is said that people who drink osmanthus wine on the festival night will have a long life, so make sure that each of-age family member will have a shot.
6. Offer Activities for Everyone
After viewing and worshipping the moon, eating mooncakes, playing games, and engaging in deep talks, your family can enjoy the rest of the night by doing various activities. This is the time when you can huddle in groups and focus on something you enjoy. For example, the adults can play mahjong, while the teens can watch a movie or play card games. The young kids can do some arts and crafts or play tag. It’s probably past midnight by this point, but that’s usually where the fun starts!
7. Give Gifts
Finally, before ending your party, give your gifts to one another. You can talk about why you chose a specific gift for a specific family member. It will add more meaning to the activity. Talking about gifts is one way to get to know your family and relatives more deeply. If you know what they like, it’ll be easier to find out what to give them every year.
8. Stay Overnight
The gathering doesn’t have to end after midnight. Let your relatives stay overnight; the cousins will surely be thrilled. Plus, having everyone around can give you the help you need in cleaning up the party’s aftermath.
Celebrations don’t have to feel restrained during this time. As long as you’re all vaccinated and following health protocols, your risks for getting sick are low. That said, try to avoid hugging your relatives unless you live under one roof. That’s one small sacrifice to make during your family gathering. But with everything else, feel free to have fun to your heart’s content.