The Chinese’s Lunar New Year celebration is staring in Chinatown Cultural Plaza | 100 N Beretania St, Honolulu on Friday, Jan 13th, 5-10 pm and Saturday, Jan 14th 10 am-10pm, Friday, Jan 27th and Saturday, Jan. 28, 2023! Be amazed by Martial Arts demonstrations, traditional Chinese Lion Dances, music, craft booths, tons of food from restaurants and vendors selling their special treats as we ring in the new year of the Water Rabbit for 2023! In Chinese astrology, water means longevity and peace, and the Rabbit is a symbol of vigilance, wittiness, cautiousness, deftness, and self-protection. Come to Chinatown wearing your good luck “red” to celebrate 2023 with yummy treats and lots of free fun for the entire family!
The Chinese Lion Dance is what everyone comes out to see! This is an ancient dance ritual dating back to the Tang Dynasty of 618-906 A.D. In the Chinese culture, the Lion Dance represents strength, wisdom, stability and superiority and they perform their dances for big events like new year’s, weddings and birthday celebrations to bring good fortune to the people they perform for. The loud, bellowing drums and cymbals mimic the lion’s movements and dance is believed to chase away evil spirits and the bad luck associated with them. It is also customary for people to feed the lions money during the dance for prosperous future in the upcoming new year! Burning fireworks in unison with the lion dance is a tradition in Chinatown! The loud popping and cracking of the fireworks keeps the evil spirits away as we enter the new year of the rabbit, Kung Hee Fat Choy (Happy New Year in Chinese)!
Pick up some good luck red envelopes (hongbao in Mandarin and lai see in Cantonese) for Chinese new year! Fill them with cash and give them to friends and family to symbolize good wishes and luck for the new year ahead.
Jade Charms are the perfect gift to increase fortune, grounding, eliminates fear and helps the heart find compassion and opens your mind in relationships. The green in the jade is said to bring tranquility with difficult situations. Jade is made into rings, pendants, earrings, bracelets, charms and figurines. The Chinese believe jade bracelets have healing properties and dream enhancers for the person wearing the jade piece. The longer the bracelet is worn the darker the color gets. Most women wear their jade bracelets on their left hand because it is closer to to their heart. Remember that real jade is a stone and should be cool to the touch. Fake jade is made of plastic and feel warm or room temperature.
A favorite treat for New Year’s is the Chinese Rice Cake is called “Gau!” It is made with mochiko rice flour, sugar, brown sugar, vegetable oil, water and sesame seeds. This sticky cake is steamed for several hours to get the rich brown coloring. Gau is eaten for good luck on the eve of Chinese New Year and is believed to bring you money or a promotion in the upcoming year.
The Chinese Pretzel is a crunchy cookie made from cornstarch, flour, sugar, milk, eggs and sesame seeds deep fried in oil with (rosette) irons which is a metal mold attached to a wooden handle to keep your hands away for the boiling hot oil. These pretzels are light and not too sweet so you can have more than one!
Come enjoy all the excitement as we welcome the year of the Rabbit with lots of food, lion dances, firecracker and good fortune for two weekends! 1/13-1/14 and 1/27-1/28/23 in Honolulu’s Chinatown!
Chinatown Cultural Plaza | 100 N Beretania St, Honolulu, HI