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中秋节 Mid-Autumn Festival

We realise that this is perhaps a bit eager - but who isn't counting down the days to a guilt-free 3 day weekend?

In preparation for one of our favourite National Holidays, we've prepared this survival pack for all you, featuring:

History & Tradition

- Mid-Autumn Festival Origins

- The Legend of Chang'e

- Mooncakes

Shanghai Staycation Tips

- Cultural Activities

-  The Romantic Weekend

- The Get-Away



Zhou Dynasty (1045BC - 221BC)

Ancient Chinese Emperors worshipped the autumn's harvest moon, for plentiful harvest the following year; there was no widespread festival yet...

Tang Dynasty (618 - 907)

Celebrating the moon became popular amongst the upper classes and, later, the common folk. Big parties with feasts and dancing became more and more common.

Song Dynasty (960 - 1279)

During the Northern Song, the 15th day of the 8th Lunar month was established as a festival, which remains the case until today.

Yuan Dynasty (1279 - 1368)

The mooncake tradition was first introduced during this period. Many were, in fact, used to pass messages against the Dynasty, which hailed from Mongolia.

Ming & Qing Dynasties (1368 - 1912)

A peak in popularity, at the same level as Chinese New Year. Traditions since gone, such as burning pagodas, reigned supreme.


Became a National Holiday, a break from school and work, and a time to again reconnect with friends and families.

中秋佳节的由来 Mid-Autumn Festival Origins:

嫦娥的传说 The Legend of Chang'e

A story of romance, loyalty, betrayal, and reluctant departure, this is by far the best known Mid-Autumn Festival story:

Though there are other versions in which Chang'e becomes the treacherous villain, we prefer this one - give her a wave when you see the full moon on Friday, where she was recently visited by her namesake lunar landers, sent by the Chinese Space Agency.


月饼 Mooncakes

The most representative tradition is undoubtedly the mooncake (月饼 yuèbǐng). A well as a tasty treat, it is a profound cultural symbol.

It's a symbol of family reunion, and the cake is traditionally cut into pieces that equal the number of people in the family. Indeed appreciating the full moon is a symbol of family reunion, with gazing at the moon from afar a poetic symbol of homesickness.

Though there are plenty of other traditions - and new ones like travelling for the long weekend - mooncakes remain the most representative tradition. You'll see them everywhere, ranging in flavour, shape, text and price - from around 5RMB to some truly eye-watering figures.

Gotta catch 'em all though, right?

Shanghai Staycation Tips:

中文化活动 Cultural Activities

What better excuse are you gonna have for some proper cultural fun? Expand your horizons at these tremendous events:

1862 Live - Yunggiema

Tibetan singer Yunggiema has a passion for ancient music and embracing ethnic heritage, and she lands in Shanghai to share with us some traditional (and personal) folk-songs passed down from generation to generation. Don’t miss it!

1862 Theatre

Sept. 13

From ¥280

↓ Buy Here ↓

Shanghai Night Eats Tour

As the sun sets, explore some of the best local and regional cuisines the city has to offer - paired with refreshing local beer in an authentic residential setting! Get up close and personal with your food with UnTour Food’s Shanghai Night Eats!!

Xuhui Meeting Point


From ¥420

↓ Buy Here ↓

Puben Flavours of China Weekend Brunch

Puben's luxurious brunch menu is inspired by the four corners of China, so get ready to take your tastebuds on an adventure! Plus, you'll enjoy breathtaking views of the Bund and be entertained by their face-changing master and Chinese Zodiac artist!

Puben by Jereme Leung

Every Saturday & Sunday

¥340pp (incl. 5 dishes + 2hrs freeflow)

↓ Buy Here ↓

Tea Tour

Loving Shanghai but still have no clue on tea spots? (And wanna avoid the scams) Say no more! Enjoy a 3-hour Chinese experience with an in-depth tour into the world of tea! Trek around the best tea market in the city, topped off with a crash-course on Chinese paper cutting! See you there!

West Yan'an Road

Every Wednesday

¥1280 for 4 / ¥320pp

↓ Buy Here ↓

Duet - A Tan Pin Retrospective

Set in the present, the exhibition is a retrospective anthology of the 35 years of the artist’s creative career. Over 40 paintings, prints, videos and on-site paintings that constitute the exhibition provide a review of the artist’s upbringing, life, and mental progress as well as an observation on his artistic evolvement via the experience and perspective of an individual life.

Yuz Museum

Tuesday - Sunday


↓ Buy Here ↓

浪漫的周末 The Romantic Weekend

With the most famous Mid-Autumn Festival fable being one of romance, it's the perfect occasion to treat your SO. Or finally pluck up the courage to ask out the person you've had your eye on.

Here're some ideas:

Starry Art Museum

Shoot your admiring shots of each other while mesmerized by the starry illusions bouncing off the mirrors and lights - it's almost the most fun you'll ever have with mirrors...

Shanghai Starry Art Museum


From ¥58

↓ Buy Here ↓

Yuan Double Set @ Anandi Hotel & Spa

"Yuan" specializes mainly in Cantonese and Shanghainese cuisine with some fusion elements of Sichuan and molecular cuisine. The delicately prepared items are, apart from being a treat to the taste, also a visual feast - and all in the truly luxurious Anandi Hotel :)

Yuan Chinese Restaurant


¥388 for 2

↓ Buy Here ↓

15th JZ Festival

You’ll be “dancing in September” at the 15th Annual JZ Festival, with the legendary Earth, Wind, and Fire Experience on stage this year! Don’t miss three days of jazz and bossa nova from the largest jazz festival in Shanghai, featuring some of the biggest jazz stars in the world!


September 13 - 15

From ¥460

↓ Buy Here ↓

Bund Bowl - All You Can Play

Bund Bowl has everything from state of the art bowling facilities, billiards, arcade games, and a full Western-style kitchen offering the very best that beer money can buy. Perfect for a relaxed evening together - it's right on the Bund, so what are you waiting for?!

Bund Bowl Bar & Restaurant

Until Dec. 31


↓ Buy Here ↓

Hands-On Dumpling Delights

Are you obsessed with dumplings? On this food tour + cooking class, you’ll get off the beaten path to sample regional varieties of dumplings, from streetside stalls frying up potstickers to mom-and-pop shops serving boiled jiaozi from China’s frigid northeast. After eating your fill, you’ll learn how to make a dim sum speciality from a Chinese chef.


Wednesdays & Saturdays

From ¥435

↓ Buy Here ↓

Rooftop Sunday Brunch @CHAR

Hang up your coat, let down your hair, relax and unwind in the sun at one of Shanghai’s most enviable rooftops, CHAR bar! With an absolutely stunning view of the Bund, as well as mouth-watering 2 and 3 course menus available, this is a brunch experience you can’t afford to miss!

Char Bar - Indigo Hotel

Every Sunday

From ¥198

↓ Buy Here ↓

中秋佳节的由来 The Get-Away

Sometimes the best staycation involves staying somewhere a little further out of town...feast your eyes on this:

Moganshan Mountain Retreat

Unwind in the countryside and enjoy nature. The two day itinerary encourages you to get active: hike or cycle to Dadouwu reservoir, and trek through bamboo forests to Dayangli. If that sounds too strenuous, take time to enjoy the luxurious, rustic hotel ;)

Moganshan Mountain Retreat


From ¥840

↓ Buy Here ↓

The full Mid-Autumn Festival long weekend guide lands Wednesday the 11th!


Note from author - Matt

Recommended track: 'Here Comes the Moon' (demo) by George Harrison. Goes well with nostalgia and plates of mooncakes.

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