Sibu International Lantern and Food Festival

Photo credit to Sarawak Tourism Board

Have you been enjoying your moon cakes during the Moon Cake Festival recently? If you could not get enough of those, Sibu has just the thing for you! It is Mid-Autumn now in the Chinese calendar and do you know what that means? Yes! Mid-Autumn Festival, lighting up lanterns and more delicious food to be savoured!

Take a look at this video by The Star Online:

Sibu Chinese Chamber of Commerce and Industry (SCCCI) has recently organised Sibu International Lantern and Food Festival 2017 in conjunction with and as one of the activities under Visit Sibu Year 2017. This event was supported by Sibu Municipal Council (SMC) with the aim to increase tourist arrivals to Sibu as well as to promote Chinese cultural appreciation.

The Mid-Autumn Festival is a harvest festival celebrated by ethnic Chinese and Vietnamese people. The festival is held on the 15th day of the 8th month of the lunar calendar with full moon at night, between late September and early October. Due to ancient China’s cultural influence, Mid-Autumn Festival is also celebrated in other parts of Asia. Mooncakes have also appeared in western countries as exotic sweets.

Try not to get it mixed up with the Spring Lantern Festival happening in March yearly. It is also known as the “Lantern Festival” in mainland China.

The festival celebrates three fundamental concepts that are closely connected which are:

  • Gathering, such as family and friends coming together, or harvesting crops for the festival. It is said the moon is the brightest and roundest on this day which means family reunion. Thus this is the main reason why people think mid-autumn is important.
  • Thanksgiving, to give thanks for the harvest, or for harmonious unions
  • Praying (asking for conceptual or material satisfaction), such as for babies, a spouse, beauty, longevity, or for a good future

Traditions and myths surrounding the festival are formed around these concepts, although traditions have changed over time due to modification in technology, science, economy, culture, and religion. The main point is that it is all about well-being together.

The Chinese have celebrated the festival since the Shang Dynasty (c. 1600–1046 BCE). Morris Berkowitz, who studied the Hakka people during the 1960s, theorizes that the harvest celebration originally began with worshiping Mountain Gods after the harvest was completed. For the Baiyue peoples, the harvest time commemorated the dragon who brought rain for the crops. The celebration as a festival only started to gain popularity during the early Tang Dynasty (618–907 CE). One legend explains that Emperor Xuanzong of Tang started to hold formal celebrations in his palace after having explored the Moon-Palace.

Empress Dowager Cixi (late 19th century) enjoyed celebrating Mid-Autumn Festival so much that she would spend the period between the thirteenth and seventeenth day of the eighth month staging elaborate rituals.

Here is another video by uhing ling:

Back in the days, Mid-Autumn Festival was a time to enjoy the successful reaping of rice and wheat with food offerings made in honour of the moon. In modern times as of today, it is still an occasion for outdoor reunions among friends and relatives to eat mooncakes and watch the Moon, a symbol of harmony and unity.

Interesting, isn’t it?

The Sibu International Lantern and Food Festival took place from 3-26 October 2017 and featured a month of colourful lantern displays throughout the Town Square every night from 6:30pm to 11:30pm.

The festival also included One Malaysia Food Fair which featured traditional local delicacies from the different races of Malaysia. In addition, there was also a lantern making contest, where skills, workmanship and intricacy of the lantern are being considered by the judges. The competition was divided into two groups, one for government departments, companies and associations while the other for schools and religious bodies.

There were prizes given out to winners of the contests.

It is okay if you have missed this year Sibu International Lantern and Food Festival since surely there will be another one next year in Sibu. Come and join the fun next year!

You could also drop by at our website SarawakBorneoTour.com to check out our Sabah and Sarawak tour packages. If any one of them sparks your interest, do not hesitate to contact and book with us now!

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