Chinese New Year 2016 in Honolulu-The Year of The Monkey

 

I Had such a wonderful day in China Town today. It was the celebration of Chinese New Year. The year of the Monkey. My grandson Nico’s year.

It has been at least 40 years since I attended the last one. Same old, same old. “Oh I so want to go down and see the celebration” but I just always put it off.

Not this year. My family was going down and I was invited too so I went! Here is the proof in photos.

IMG_4308Some of my family

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IMG_4251These three are my favorite. There were so many of these toys, tee shirts and food lining the streets. We strolled all morning and spent lots of money.

IMG_4315I could not figure out what this was and I had a hard time understanding the Chinese man’s accent. He was patient and kept repeating until I figured it out. Red Dates!

IMG_4301So hard to choose. All was freshly cooked and smelled so good.

IMG_4312One of my favorites. Char Siu. Bought to take home

IMG_4310Can you tell we are in China Town?

IMG_4316This is one of the most popular bakeries in China Town. You have to get to it early or this is what happens.

Odds and Ends Along the Way

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A tip of the hat to my dear friend

chinese New Year 2016 - 61My daughter couldn’t resist all of the colorful cartoon items Inside the bookstore

IMG_4276At last what looked to be an authentic Item. When I went to check to see how much it was I was told it was being used by the fortune teller and not for sale. Sigh.

IMG_4300Guan Yin Goddess of Mercy. There is a wonderful blog that tells you all about her at https://lol8.wordpress.com/2010/04/03/dreams-on-her-birthdays/

IMG_4282And what is Chinese New Years without a Lion Dance. Here the lion hesitates. Should he enter the smoke?

IMG_4285But then his companion catches up to him and says, don’t worry little buddy I’ve got your back

IMG_4283And little buddy feels brave and stands tall and into the smoke he goes

IMG_4264These are other members who also participate in making the lion dance. They all wait their turn as the dancers change out quite frequently

chinese New Year 2016 - 44Here you can see them changing out. Notice the woman with the blue arm sticking out towards the green lion. She is offering him money for good luck. This is also how the club makes their money.

IMG_4294Oh the lion is so happy to have been fed.

IMG_4274So my daughter feeds the lion too. We can all use a bit of luck.

IMG_0391And I can use all the luck I can get.

IMG_4333Then these little lions came along. I could not resist following them as they would stop and wag their tail end.

IMG_4339The little lion makes it up the stairs and heads to this woman who definitely wants good luck for her business. See all those red papers on her desk? She has been feeding many lions and she must be feeding them well as the lions don’t give those papers to just anyone.

IMG_4342And there he is giving her another good luck paper

IMG_4330And these are the little children who are dancing that lion. They start from a very,very young age.

So what a wonderful day I had. I loved the banging, drumming and all of the commotion. I watched the smiles on all of the old Chinese people’s faces and wondered just what memories were going through their minds. For me I loved seeing all the different nationalities co-mingling. I thought what a wonderful island this is that we all celebrate and enjoy each others differences. That is why I can honesty say “Hawaii No ka oi.” (Hawaii is the best)

Lion Dance and Hawaiian Blessings

On Saturday, the 15th Of January our community dedicated the new community center at the Kunia park.

In Hawaii it is customary to have a Hawaiian blessing and, more often then not, a Chinese Lion Dance. So many in the area showed up for the festivities and quite a banquet of food. Here are some of the highlights from that day.

The Kahu (minister) and his sons

The Kahu who is draped in a Maile lei along with his sons gave the blessing.  The Maile  is one of the oldest form of lei. It has a wonderful light fragrant smell that last for days. It is draped around the neck horseshoe fashon. It is worn quite often by hula dancers. The leaf is a member of the periwinkle family.

Blessing with ti leaf and water

Before anyone can go into the new center the Kahu will sprinkle water around the area and inside of the center with a ti leaf. Ti leaves have been used from ancient times for wrapping food,  used as a dish, or even warmed and put on the forehead to help dispel a headache. They even made rain capes from them because of its ability to resist water.

But in the instance of the blessing the ancient Hawaiians used Ti to attract the good and stave off the bad. You will often see fans at a football game waving the ti leaf to bring good luck to their team.

The Lion (double click on photo to see inside the lions mouth)

The biggest attraction at any of these events is the Lion dance. Young children or young adults perform under these Lion costumes.

Waiting to perform

The lion begins to roar

The Cymbals clash

The drums begin to beat

With the loud clashing and drumming the lion is given his cue as to where and how to move

The lions approach the people. As the lion comes close he will open his mouth and the people will feed it money. This is thought to bring good luck and also helps out the club who is giving the dance.

There are many different types of moves that the Lion Makes. Some dances are very rigorous and include high kicks, jumps and dips.

After the blessing and the dance we all went into the new center. There was quite a buffet set up with different types of sushi, chicken, hot dogs, rice, noodles, pot stickers, lumpia and all types of desserts.

Everyone had a great time. I even ended up volunteering to serve on a committee to set up craft classes.

If you would like to read more about the maile lei you can go to this site.http://www.aloha-hawaii.com/hawaii/maile/

I’ve also added this site for an interesting back ground on how the lion dance got started here in Hawaii and back ground on the marshal art. Lion Dance