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Lahaina Town to celebrate Chinese Moon Festival

By Staff | Sep 13, 2018

The festival takes place at the Wo Hing Museum & Cookhouse on Front Street.

LAHAINA – Lahaina is set to honor the traditions of China during its annual Chinese Moon Festival from Monday, Sept. 17, to Saturday, Sept. 22.

Hosted by Lahaina Restoration Foundation and the Wo Hing Society, the festival takes place at the Wo Hing Museum & Cookhouse on Front Street and features free admission to the museum all week, culminating in a daylong event on Saturday.

Chinese moon cakes from Hong Kong will be on sale at the Wo Hing Museum all week, from Sept. 17-22.

Also known as the Mid-Autumn or Mooncake Festival, the Chinese Moon Festival is a favorite time for family, friends and sweethearts to reunite under a full moon during the harvest.

Attendees can learn more about the origins of this popular Chinese holiday during the “Story of the Moon Festival,” presented by Dr. Busaba Yip, cultural director for Wo Hing Museum, at 2 and 7 p.m. on Saturday, after which attendees can enjoy mini-tastings of Taiwanese moon cakes – dense, round pastries that are shared with family and loved ones during the Moon Festival.

The Taipei Economic and Cultural Office in Honolulu (TECO) has donated 120 of the locally made (in Honolulu) Taiwanese moon cakes for use in festival offerings, exhibits and displays.

In addition, TECO also donated special mountain oolong tea from Mt Li in Central Taiwan (li means “pear” in Mandarin), which will be served in the tea garden.

Saturday’s festivities include guided tours of the Wo Hing Temple for attendees ages ten and up. The tours will be offered every hour, at 5, 6, 7 and 8 p.m., and space is limited. Reserve a spot in advance at bit.ly/18temple.

From 5 to 9 p.m., moon cakes and Chinese teas will be served in the tea garden, accompanied by gu zheng harp music by Toi Suchitra Srijantara.

Hands-on cultural activities include Chinese fan making for keiki sponsored by the Lahaina Arts Association, Chinese calligraphy with Rev. Takayuki of Lahaina Shingon Mission and Chinese knot-tying with Brenda Wong.

Chef Bobby Santos will demonstrate how to prepare Crispy Gau Gee and offer a free tasting. Then from 6 to 7 p.m., Maui Chinese Martial Arts Academy will share an exciting demonstration of Kung Fu and Tai Chi Chuan. Crowd participation is encouraged!

As the only and longest-running Chinese martial arts school on Maui, MCMAA offers history and traditional practices in Tao Ga Kung Fu, Tai Chi Chuan and traditional Lion Dance. They are currently looking for new members on the West Side, with the hope of being able to support Lion Dancing in Lahaina. Contact Jay Curesma at (808) 258-0614 for information.

The Wo Hing Museum & Cookhouse at 858 Front St. will offer free admission from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday through Friday, Sept. 17-21, and from 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. on Saturday, Sept. 22.

Visitors will enjoy a Chinese lantern display, educational exhibits about the Moon Festival and a traditional Chinese Moon Goddess offering harvest display, as well as temple tours (pre-register at bit.ly/18temple), presentations, demonstrations and cultural activities.

“We are so pleased to pay tribute to Lahaina’s enduring Chinese heritage and to celebrate the coming of the harvest – a time of joyful reunion,” said Theo Morrison, executive director of Lahaina Restoration Foundation.

“We invite everyone to come down to Front Street and take part in the tradition of the Moon Festival.”

The event is presented and sponsored by Wo Hing Society, Lahaina Restoration Foundation, Hawaii Tourism Authority, Office of Economic Development, Lahaina Arts Association, Taipei Economic and Cultural Office in Honolulu, and Maui Chinese Martial Arts Academy. For more information, call (808) 661-3262 or visit www.LahainaRestoration.org.