Courtesy of www.chinatownhi.com
Chinese New Year is once again quickly approaching! The Year of the Rabbit will shortly be leaving us behind and the Year of the Dragon will arrive on January 23, 2012. Honolulu's famous Chinatown will once again host a month long celebration perfect for your family to enjoy. Wonderful cultural festivals full of food, entertainment, and fun and colorful parades full of Chinese lions and the annual Narcissus Queen Pageant are all scheduled to help ring in the new year. Chinatown is one of Hawaii's most exciting and mysterious neighborhoods. It has long been a gathering place for Hawaii's immigrants who helped shape Hawaii's past and who are now an integral part of Hawaii's harmonious cultural balance. The schedule of events will begin on January 6, 2012 with the Chinese New Year Festival presented by the United Chinese Coalition, a two day celebration at the Chinese Cultural Plaza featuring Chinese and Asian food, exhibits and entertainment, arts and crafts, martial arts demonstrations, and Chinese dancing and singing. This is a fun event for the family that we thoroughly enjoyed in years past and will be participating in again this year with lots of opportunities for the little ones to explore and learn about the various cultures represented in Chinatown. It is also the perfect time to buy your Chinese New Year gifts (Chinese lion puppets are always a hit!) and learn about traditions such as lisee, the Chinese tradition of giving good luck money placed in red envelopes. The event will be held again on January 20-21, 2012, the weekend just prior to the New Year. On January 13-14, 2012, the Chinese Chamber of Commerce will present the Chinatown Open House, another two day long celebration of the new year. On January 13, the celebration will include a traditional choy cheng, or Chinese lion dance blessing, and visits from the Narcissus Queen and her court. The following night, the streets of Chinatown will transform into a lively street fair with four main stages of entertainment, food, games, and dancing for all ages. The highlight of the month, is the Night in Chinatown Parade beginning at 3:30 p.m. on January 14, 2012. This is one of the largest and most colorful parades we have ever seen and is without a doubt a must do for your family! Hotel Street comes alive with Chinese lions, martial arts, marching bands, and a 150 foot dragon! The keiki will love the color, music, and excitement of the parade. Don't forget to bring some small bills to feed the Chinese lions for good luck and fortune in the coming year! All of these events are free and open to the public. Go to www.chinatownhi.com for more details on individual events. Be sure to bring your camera, a stroller, a hat, sunglasses, and sunscreen. All of the events are outside. While in Chinatown, we recommend that you take the time to explore some of its great markets full of fresh flowers, seafood, vegetables, souvenirs and many other products, some of which you can only find in Hawaii as they are not imported to the Mainland. There is also an opportunity to marvel at some unique historical architecture that can only be found along its streets. We recommend parking at Hale Pauahi Parking Garage. It is the closest to the Chinese Cultural Plaza. Click here for a map of other parking alternatives in and around Chinatown. The events surrounding the Chinese New Year are a tremendous opportunity for your family to learn about a few of the different cultures that are represented here in Hawaii. It is a unique chance to present to our children the differences that exist between communities and how each one is significant and vital to our society as a whole. We highly recommend attending some of these terrific family events and help welcome in the Year of Dragon!