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Moon-watching fun to be put to test by pandemic safety protocols

17 September 2020

By The SUN

The moon will be at biggest and brightest on Oct 1, says the HK Observatory

Moon lovers will have an extra-long weekend to watch the autumn moon this year with the National Day on Thursday, Oct 1, coinciding with the Mid-Autumn Festival.

Festival traditions are, however, likely to be put to test by social distancing and other health protocols in these pandemic times, led by a no-nonsense government ban on gatherings of more than four persons in public places.

The festival falls on Thursday, but moon watching begins on the evening of Sept 30, when Hong Kong families and lovers traditionally gather in open spaces such as beaches, rooftops and elevated places to await and welcome the lunar spectacle.

Pindutin para sa detalye!

The annual festivity is celebrated with lantern exhibitions, feasting and fun. It will peak with the autumn moon on the night of Oct 1, when the moon will be at its biggest and will remain visible in the sky until the early morning of Saturday.

In pre-pandemic times, the festival was a time in Hong Kong for strengthening family bonds with mooncakes, yellow fruits, as well as wine and winter crab parties.

It was also a time for families with children to light colorful candles and walk around with gay lanterns on beaches, parks, or the Peak, as they wait for the moon to rise to its full glory.

PINDUTIN PARA SA DETALYE

For lovers, it was a time to make promises to the moon in some quiet nooks; for loners, a time to just wait and wish that, next time around, they’d not be moon watching alone.

Mid-Autumn Festival was a time for partying on chartered trams or dining and cruising on Victoria Harbour for westerners and tourists.

For migrant workers, the festival was always a welcome break from backbreaking chores to get together, go hiking, visit malls, or simply loll around in their favorite haunts across Hong Kong.

Colorful and bright lanterns are hung  to celebrate what is also known as "Lantern Festival"

Now much of these are a thing of the past. Everyone must observe the strict distancing protocols, or face the possibility of a penalty. If people want to dine together, they must go in groups of four, or do it in the confines of their homes.


Migrant workers who are lucky enough to be allowed out during the holidays, must also observe distancing and be careful when dining together, as this is considered as a high-risk activity by health experts.

But the festival fun still depends much what the weather will be like at the long weekend. The Hong Kong Observatory’s forecast for the period is not yet available. But with rains having fallen daily these past few days, hopes are for clearer skies during the festival.

Giving away mooncakes is also part of the yearly tradition

To assist the public in moon watching, the Government Information Service lists the times of moonrise, transit, moonset and full moon during the festival period.

Watch out for moonrise at 5:35pm on Sept 30. It transits the local meridian at 11.31pm and sets at 5:32am the next day.

Tunghayan ang isa na namang kwentong Dream Love

On Oct 1, moonrise will be at 6:08pm, transit at 12 minutes past midnight on Oct 2 and moonset at 6:31am next day.

On Oct 2, the moon will rise at 6:40pm, transit at 53 minutes past midnight on Oct 3 and set at 7:10am the next day.

The government notes that at its fullest, the moon as seen from the earth is completely illuminated, it and the sun being located on the opposite sides of the planet.

offense.  

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