Get ready for our annual harvest celebration, the Chinese Moon Festival, on Friday, September 16 and Saturday, September 17! It will take place at Wo Hing Museum, 858 Front Street in Lahaina, between 10 am and 7 pm. Admission is free.
Lahaina’s two-day moon festival celebrates the island’s harvest of locally grown produce as well as 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.
This year, Lahaina’s celebration will begin early with a moon festival talk and PowerPoint presentation by Busaba Yip, Ph.D, Wo Hing Cultural Director for Lahaina Restoration Foundation on Wednesday, September 7 at 9:30 am in the Lahaina Library.
During the festival on September 16 and 17, attendees can also see Dr. Yip’s presentation about the history of moon festivals in China and around the world as well as displays of traditional harvest offerings to the moon goddess and Chinese lanterns.
Kids will enjoy making paper lanterns and learning how to plant seeds. People of all ages can explore cultural activities such as Chinese calligraphy, knot tying and a talk on Hawai‘i feng shui by Diane Alba-Means. The activities are available between 4 and 7 pm.
In the evening, Chinese tea (and iced ginger tea) and moon cakes will be served in the garden to the accompaniment of an instrumental erhu performance by Hong Zhou. Between 2 and 7 pm, traditional music will be performed on the yang gin symbalom and gu zheng harp by Toi Suchitra Srijantara.
Festival-goers can watch traditional Chinese cooking demonstrations by Chef Bobby Santos on Friday (Chicken Chow Mein) and Chef Dean Louie on Saturday (Soy Braised Fall Mushrooms with Chestnuts) from 5 to 7 pm.
Chinese moon cakes will be available for sale. A decorative box of four large moon cakes costs $20 and one large moon cake sells for $6; fillings include taro, lotus and red bean. Moon cakes can be ordered prior to the festival by visiting the Baldwin Home Museum on Front Street or calling the LRF office at 808-661-3262. Cash and major credit cards are accepted.
Chinese Moon Festival is supported by Hawai‘i Tourism Authority, the County of Maui Office of Economic Development and Wo Hing Society. Wo Hing Museum will reopen in early September. During festival days, it’s open from 10 am to 7 pm with free admission. For a complete schedule of activities, email us with your request.
Do you like to volunteer in the community? This is your chance to participate in fun activities while helping us decorate and coordinate the festival. Please contact us and let us know which day and times you’re available to help – mahalo!