Celebrate the Chinese New Year in Hawaii

The Chinese New Year was traditionally the most important festival every year. The entire household would become fixated on the celebration and work life would nearly come to a stop, allowing all to make home and family the primary focus. Households are thoroughly cleaned to appease the gods coming to make inspections. The new lunar year is celebrated annually from mid-January to the waxing of the full moon in mid-February through a variety of unique traditions.

The Chinese community gathers, often wearing the symbolic color red, to bring good luck and to have prosperity in the coming year, exchange red envelopes with cash gifts, and participate in festivals with parades, music, dancing, and fireworks. During the first five days, celebrations involve eating long noodles as a symbol of living a long life. Extended families share a meal together that includes a fish course not meant to eat as a symbol of abundance. And finally, on the last day of the New Year, dumplings in the shape of the full moon are shared to symbolize the family unit.

Image via Hawaii NYE

Where to Celebrate in Hawaii

You can celebrate the Chinese New Year throughout the islands of Hawaii. Here’s a list of popular events:

Chinese New Year in Oahu

Chinese New Year in Maui

  • Maui Chinese New Year Festival
    The community page on Facebook shares events annually sponsored by the Maui Chinese New Year Festival, Maui Chinese Cultural Society, and Maui Chinese Club.
  • Wo Hing Museum Lahaina
    Celebrate on Friday, February 23rd from 5 pm to 9 pm with traditional lion dancing with drums, firecrackers, and cymbals. Martial arts demonstrations and instrumental performances can be enjoyed with Chinese tea served in the garden.

Chinese New Year in the Big Island

  • Shops at Mauna Lani
    Performances throughout the Chinese New Year at multiple locations on the Big Island.

How to celebrate As a Native

The Cantonese pronunciation of Happy New Year is: Gung Hay Fat Choy

The Mandarin pronunciation of Happy New Year is: Gungshi Shin Nien

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