After COVID-19 dampened plans for festivities last year, the Dr. Sun Yat-Sen Classical Chinese Garden is celebrating Mid-Autumn Festival with a full slate of activities this week.
Starting Tuesday, the garden is hosting a mooncake tasting event, a tea ceremony demonstration, live music — including a 30-minute opera performance — crafts, storytelling, and moon-watching with the H.R. MacMillan Space Centre.
"We're all really excited about this event," said Lorraine Lowe, executive director of the garden.
"Unfortunately last year during COVID, in 2020, we didn't have any programming. It's really exciting for our team to catch up and just be able to celebrate this."
The garden, built in the mid-1980s, is the first full-scale traditional Ming dynasty-style garden outside of China.
It made headlines in November 2018 and again in November 2019 after a river otter killed a number of the garden's beloved koi fish, some of whom were decades old. The garden was temporarily closed to deal with the aftermath.
Then came COVID-19, which hit the Chinatown neighbourhood especially hard. Last May, 17 per cent of Chinatown businesses were empty compared to the citywide average of 10 per cent.
This week's celebrations mark one of the most important holidays in the lunar calendar — a celebration of the fall harvest when the moon is at its fullest.
Lillian Li, a cultural experience specialist at the garden, will be hosting a traditional tea ceremony as part of the festivities.
Though she says it will be hard to match the celebrations like the ones in her hometown of Beijing, the chance to be with family, enjoy mooncakes and share tea is something she would love Vancouverites to experience this week as part of the festival.
"I want them to have a chance to experience the real traditional moon festival. That's very special for me and I want to share it with all of the people here in Vancouver," Li said.
The events run from Tuesday, Sept. 21 to Friday, Sept. 24, and Sunday, Sept. 26.