Get moony about the Mid-Autumn festival which is celebrated throughout China with some of the best festive events happening in Beijing.
Relentlessly gazing at the moon may sound like something that happens after hitting the moonshine a bit too hard, but if you head to Beijing in the autumn that's exactly what happens. Celebrated across China, the annual mid-autumn festival is one of the country's biggest events so where better to celebrate than the capital itself?
The festival is designed to celebrate togetherness, family and prosperity and there are city-wide celebrations to explore if you happen to be in town. Traditionally, locals would set up a platform to watch the sky from their homes and leave offers to the moon (including mooncakes, fruit and lotus roots); other methods included watching the moon from water. Today, the celebrations have evolved and some of the best places to watch the festivities are Lugou Bridge (which features traditional Chinese folk art), the CCTV tower (home to a revolving restaurant and telescopes for cityscape viewing) and Beihai Park (for lake cruises and waterside parties).
If you want to shop for souvenirs during the fest then look for traditional white-faced rabbit figurines which can be bought in local markets - also keep an eye out for festive menus and dishes at the city's hundreds of eateries. Afterwards, wash it down with some Chinese plonk - you may want to avoid the strong stuff though, you might end up seeing three moons instead of one.
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