Festival of August Moon offers unique beauty
By Darren Lum
Published July 28, 2016
With the sun setting and the full moon rising overhead, the Gull River will glow with flickering candlelight from a flotilla of lanterns. Adorned with Japanese symbols and images, painted by people to honour loved ones who have passed on, the lanterns are part of the upcoming Festival of the August Moon.
This is arguably one of the most unique events in the county and it is returning to Minden.
On Thursday, Aug. 18, the public is welcome to learn about Japanese culture with several activities starting at 3 p.m. at the Wild Swan Bed and Breakfast at 65 Invergordon Ave. in Minden.
Although its founder Marc Shroetter is not able to run the event this year, the committee is taking over.
Its treasurer Jeanne Anthon said this event, sponsored by the Haliburton County Community Co-operative is important to the community, for not just its visual spectacle, but the universal importance people place on their loved ones who have died.
Anthon has launched her own lantern and understands the experience.
“It's an experience unlike any other as far as watching a lantern that you have painted with your special symbols or artistic work and knowing that that represents people you care for,” she said.
“It's a most unique feeling of community, sharing that precious moment with so many others and the drifting away of the lanterns down the river to me is symbolic of still caring and still remembering.”
The event itinerary is similar to last year, but new this year is the demonstration of Japanese brush painting with the Haliburton School of Art and Design's Cassandra Wyszkowski, who is an instructor of a summer course in Japanese brush painting.
Wyszkowski is a member of the Sumi-e Artists of Canada and has more than 30 years of professional teaching and painting experience. She has taught at the Haliburton school every summer since 1976.
The event also includes an opening ceremony, Japanese children's games, Japanese folk tales, face painting with Melissa Alfano by donation, origami paper folding, a tea ceremony with Aya Takata in the Wild Swan, Japanese food catered by the Wild Swan, a tai chi demonstration, painting of lanterns, parasols, fans and masks for nominal fee and traditional Japanese dancing from 6:15 p.m. to 7:15 p.m. followed by the lantern launching ceremony before sunset at the walking bridge in Minden across from the Wild Swan.
“There's nothing like it. As far as I know there might be one other ceremony in Canada, but ... it's a very rare kind of festival in Canada and certainly in Ontario so it's a once a lifetime,” Anthon said.
For more information see www.facebook.com/mindenlanternfestival or call Kay Millard at 705-286-6635 or email firstname.lastname@example.org for details. Sponsors are welcomed.