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Chinese Moon Festival set for Monday to Sept. 14 in Lahaina

Last year’s tea garden at the Chinese Moon Festival drew a crowd. -- Lahaina Restoration Foundation

Lahaina Restoration Foundation will host the Chinese Moon Festival from Monday through Sept. 14 at the Wo Hing Museum and Cookhouse on Front Street. Admission to the museum will be free all week, culminating in a daylong celebration on Sept. 14.

Throughout the week, a special Chinese Moon Festival exhibit will be on display in the Wo Hing Cookhouse. This exhibit will include a traditional offering for the Chinese Moon Goddess and educational displays about the story of the Moon Festival.

Mooncakes from China will also be available for purchase at the Wo Hing museum gift shop. Mooncakes are dense, round pastries that are traditionally shared with family and loved ones during the Moon Festival. Call the Wo Hing Museum gift shop at 661-5553 for availability and prices.

The festival’s ending daylong celebration at the museum will include cultural presentations and hands-on experiences. Attendees can learn about the significance of the Chinese Moon Festival and tea culture with a presentation by Busaba Yip, cultural director for the Wo Hing Museum. She will be joined by Fawn Shang, a Chinese tea practitioner from Honolulu. The presentation will be held at 1 p.m. and again at 5 p.m. in the Cookhouse Theater on Sept. 14. After the presentation, attendees can sample a mini-tasting of Taiwanese mooncakes, donated by the Taipei Economic and Cultural Office in Honolulu.

From 4 to 7 p.m. Sept. 14, people can learn Chinese knot-tying with Brenda Wong and practice Chinese calligraphy with the Rev. Takayuki Meguro of Lahaina Shingon Mission. Both knot-tying and calligraphy trace their roots back thousands of years in Chinese traditions. Hong Zhou will be playing the erhu, a traditional Chinese stringed instrument.

Also on Sept. 14, pots of hot tea and mooncakes may be purchased at the tea garden from 4 to 8 p.m. Children’s art activities will be available from 4 to 8, as well. From 5 to 7:30 p.m., Chef Bobby Santos will give a cooking demonstration, frying up some crispy gau gee, with free samples for attendees.

Also known as the Mid-Autumn Festival, the Chinese Moon Festival is a time for family and friends to come together under a full moon during the harvest. Mooncakes are often given as gifts and shared with loved ones. Offerings of mooncakes and other food are traditionally left for Chang’e, the Chinese moon goddess.

“We are so pleased to honor Lahaina’s Chinese heritage and invite everyone to come down to Front Street and take part in the Moon Festival,” said Theo Morrison, executive director of the Lahaina Restoration Foundation.

The Wo Hing Museum and Cookhouse at 858 Front St. will offer free admission from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday through Friday, and from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. Sept. 14.