Mayor greets Year of Ox
POSTED: Thursday, January 08, 2009
The annual monthlong celebration of Chinese New Year kicks off this weekend, Mayor Mufi Hannemann announced yesterday.
Local Chinese communities hope for better things this year since it’s the year of the Earth Ox.
For the third year, the city has joined with private businesses to host several events mainly in Chinatown to celebrate the Chinese New Year, Jan. 26, heralding the Year of the Ox.
"Every year that we've done this, it gets better and it gets bigger," said Hannemann yesterday at a kickoff event at Honolulu Hale. "Chinatown is very important to this administration. We want to make it a vibrant center for arts and culture. Chinese New Year brings the Chinese community together in a way that whether or not you're Chinese, you feel Chinese."
Lion dancers and Chinese beauty queens attended yesterday's kickoff event in the courtyard of Honolulu Hale. When the drums started beating, Hannemann reached into his pocket and pulled out a $5 bill to feed the lion, a traditional Chinese gesture to bring good luck into the new year.
The monthlong Chinese New Year celebration is a part of Hannemann's plan to revitalize Chinatown. In the past there would be a scattering of Chinese New Year celebrations held by individual businesses. Hannemann has made an effort to consolidate the events.
"This makes it easy to celebrate Chinese New Year," Hannemann said.
During the celebration, revelers can enjoy lion dances, fireworks, exhibits, Chinese singing and dancing, martial arts and feng shui demonstrations, fortunetelling and ethnic food.
Chinese New Year festivities
Highlights of this year's events in Chinatown include:
Today, tomorrow, Jan. 16, 17: 10 a.m. to 10 p.m.
» Chinese New Year Festival at Cultural Plaza
Saturday: 6:30 to 9 p.m.
» Narcissus Queen Pageant at the Hawaii Theatre. Call 533-3181 to purchase tickets.
Jan. 17: 5 to 10 p.m.
» Narcissus Festival Coronation Ball at Hilton Hawaiian Village. Call 533-3181 to purchase tickets.
Jan. 18: 3:30 to 5 p.m.
» Chinese New Year Charity Show at McKinley High School Auditorium of song and dance performances to benefit Palolo Chinese Home and Mun Lun Chinese School. Call 779-8822 for tickets.
Jan. 23: 6 to 10 p.m.
» Narcissus Festival with the Narcissus Queen and court to visit Chinatown businesses
» Traditional Lion Dance Blessing with Troy Cheng at 76 N. King St. and Chinatown Open House
» Chinatown Open House with food vendors, arts and crafts and entertainment at Cultural Plaza
» 9 a.m. to 10 p.m., Chinatown Open House at the Cultural Plaza with food vendors will have favorite Chinese dishes, including jai (vegetarian monk's food), gin doi (Chinese doughnut), gau (New Year's pudding), and jook (rice soup).
» 9 a.m. to 10:30 p.m., Night in Chinatown Festival on Maunakea Street for an all-day block party with food and arts and crafts booths, cultural demonstrations and Chinese lion and dragon dances