In the Loop

Annual Chinese Moon Festival to shine on Lahaina

Lahaina’s Moon Festival honors local produce and Chinese traditions in the fall of each year at the Wo Hing Temple on Front Street. -- Lahaina Restoration Foundation photo

Lahaina’s Moon Festival honors local produce and Chinese traditions in the fall of each year at the Wo Hing Temple on Front Street. -- Lahaina Restoration Foundation photo

The Lahaina Restoration Foundation’s annual celebration of the Chinese Moon Festival will rise into the historic Wo Hing Museum & Cookhouse on Front Street in Lahaina from 5 to 9 p.m. Saturday. This community event takes place every year with free admission.

In addition, the public is invited to visit the museum at 858 Front St. next 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. Mooncakes will be sold in the Wo Hing Museum gift shop.

Lahaina’s colorful moon festival celebrates the island 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. The 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 mooncake (a round cake with a sweet paste filling or salted duck egg yolk in the center) and colorful lanterns are symbolic traditions.

At 6 p.m. Saturday, students of Maui Academy of Performing Arts’ Summer Musical Theatre group will do fan, ribbon and umbrella dances from their production of “Mulan Jr.” under the direction of Kathleen Schultz.

At 7 p.m. Saturday, Wo Hing Cultural Director Busaba Yip will provide a slide-show presentation about the history of moon festivals in China and around the world.

Listen to a talk on history  in the Wo Hing Cook House during festivities. -- Lahaina Restoration Foundation photo

Listen to a talk on history in the Wo Hing Cook House during festivities. -- Lahaina Restoration Foundation photo

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.

Chinese tea and mooncakes will be served in the garden to the accompaniment of traditional music on the guzheng harp by Toi Suchitra Srijantara from 5 to 9 p.m. The Only Ono BBQ will offer Chinese food plates; and mooncakes in large and small sizes will also be for sale at the event. Fillings will be taro, lotus and red bean. Cash and major credit cards are accepted.

Wo Hing Museum will be open from 10 a.m. all week leading up to the festival with free admission. Visit www.LahainaRestoration.org.

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