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Mid-Autumn Moon Festival Shines a Bright Light at The Frelinghuysen Arboretum

MORRISTOWN, NJ – The Mid-Autumn Moon Festival began centuries ago in China as a way to give thanks for a good harvest. Join the celebration of this pan-Asian holiday and experience authentic entertainment and refreshments on Sunday, September 7 at The Frelinghuysen Arboretum in Morris Township. Celebrated on the 15th day of the 8th month of the lunar calendar, the Moon Festival is timed to coincide with a full moon. Its roots date back centuries, and while it is thought to have begun in conjunction with the harvest, over time other myths grew around it. Learn about the brave Moon Goddess, Chang-O, and the clever Jade Rabbit who lives on the moon.

The celebration begins with an international and award-winning play, Tiger Tales presented by the Chinese Theatre Works Company. Drawing on China’s two-thousand-year history of shadow puppetry, Tiger Tales features an artful blend of Eastern and Western philosophies, and ancient and contemporary theatre techniques. This fascinating show engages audiences of all ages and has been performed across America, South Korea, Taiwan, and China. With narration in English and accompanied by traditional Chinese music, the play incorporates popular Chinese folktales and literature. Set in a modern day jungle, the story features a wise old rabbit who recounts her adventures to her granddaughter, including her many encounters with Tiger, the King of the jungle. This colorful, artistic, and humorous presentation begins at 1 pm.

Following Tiger Tales, sample traditional holiday foods, such as moon cakes, osmanthus tea, and the pomelo. Moon cakes are tasty pastries stuffed with a variety of fillings and shaped like the moon, which is at the center of this celebration. Likewise, the pomelo, a giant member of the grapefruit family, also symbolizes the moon. The fall-blooming Osmanthus, a shrub which grows at The Frelinghuysen Arboretum, is enjoyed in tea form during this holiday.

Games, crafts, and family tours in both Mandarin and English complete the afternoon. A Chinese dice game requires sharp math skills as do the tangram puzzles. Use bamboo, native to China, to fashion a garden mobile. Its gentle sound reminds you of this special afternoon for many moons to come. Last year this event sold out, so we encourage you to register early.

This program has been made possible through the generous funding of UPS, Diversity Relations Team, and the support of Kam Man, Inc. For information and to register, please contact or 973.326.7603.

The Morris County Park Commission features one of the region’s best park systems in the state of New Jersey. It currently protects and maintains 18,730 acres at 38 distinct sites plus offers a year-round calendar of events and activities for all to enjoy!