Maui Arts & Entertainment

Lahaina Celebrates Chinese Moon Festival, Sept. 30

September 10, 2017, 6:04 PM HST
* Updated September 8, 10:17 PM
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Lahaina Restoration Foundation’s annual celebration of the Chinese Moon Festival is slated for Saturday, Sept. 30, 2017 at Wo Hing Museum & Cookhouse, 858 Front Street in Lahaina. This community event takes place from 5 to 9 p.m. with free admission.

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The public is invited to visit the museum all week, Monday through Friday, when admission is free from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. to view colorful Chinese lanterns and offerings to the moon goddess on display. Moon cakes will be sold in the Wo Hing Museum gift shop.

Lahaina’s moon festival celebrates the island’s harvest of locally grown produce as well as time-honored traditions from China. Also known as the Mid-Autumn Festival, moon festivals in China originated more than 2,000 years ago. Chinese emperors chose the 15th day of the eighth month of the Chinese lunar calendar to worship the moon and give offerings to the moon goddess. Eventually, the festival evolved into a celebration of thanks for an abundance of fruits, vegetables and grains from harvests. The moon cake (a round cake with a sweet paste filling or salted duck egg yolk in the center) and colorful lanterns are symbolic traditions at a moon festival.

During the Saturday event, students from the Maui Academy of Performing Arts’ Summer Musical Theatre group will perform fan, ribbon and umbrella dances from their production of Mulan Jr. under the direction of Kathleen Schultz at 6 pm. Wo Hing Cultural Director Busaba Yip will provide a slide show presentation about the history of moon festivals in China and around the world at 7 pm.

Kids can try their hand at making paper lanterns. People of all ages can explore cultural activities such as the Chinese arts of calligraphy with Rev. Takayuki and knot tying with Brenda Wong. Local artists will demonstrate painting the moon in honor of the festival. Activities and artists will be on site from 5 to 9 p.m.

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Chinese tea and moon cakes will be served in the garden to the accompaniment of traditional music on the gu zheng harp by Toi Suchitra Srijantara from 5 to 9 p.m. Only Ono BBQ will offer Chinese food plates for sale.

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Moon cakes in large and small sizes will also be available for sale at the event. Fillings include taro, lotus and red bean. Cash and major credit cards are accepted.

Chinese Moon Festival is presented by the Wo Hing Society and Lahaina Restoration Foundation, and sponsored by Hawai‘i Tourism Authority and the County of Maui Office of Economic Development. Wo Hing Museum will be open from 10 a.m. all week with free admission.

Island produce offerings displayed at the Chinese Moon Festival in Lahaina. PC: Lahaina Restoration Foundation

Wo Hing Cultural Director Busaba Yip talks about the history of Chinese Moon Festivals inside the old Cookhouse. PC: Lahaina Restoration Foundation

Kids of all ages enjoy art activities at the Chinese Moon Festival in Lahaina. PC: Lahaina Restoration Foundation

Chinese lanterns light the Wo Hing Museum yard during Lahaina’s Moon Festival. Photo courtesy: Lahaina Restoration Foundation.

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