Chinese New Year
Chinese New Year celebrations in Honolulu began on Friday, January 24. Businesses decorate their premises and invite
lion dancers to perform and bring good luck for the new year. In some offices, workers leave a red envelope with money
on their desk. The lion dancers visit each desk and collect the envelopes. People can also feed the lion with dollar bills.
We were invited to the Hawaii National Bank for the start of the New Year festivities. Their main office
had this display with an explanation about the differences and meanings of the dragon and the lion dance.
They also had a display of other traditional Chinese items. School classes came to visit during the day.
2014, or the year 4712 according to the Chinese calendar, is the year of the horse.
The bank arranged an early start and two lions appeared by the back door to the bank about an hour
before the main gathering of lions. The dancing starts when the firecrackers are lit, the long, red strings
of explosives. The strings are lowered as they burn, and the metal mesh protects from exploding paper.
The protective mesh does not however protect from the smoke!
The persons performing the dance often changed places because of the smoke and the loud noise from the firecrackers.
The lions and the drummers then entered the building and took the elevator to visit
all the offices. There was also a reception for guests food on one of the upper floors.
People waited on the street outside for all the rest of the lion dance teams to gather and for the main dancing to start.
It was not only lions that got the attention of the crowds.
The 2014 Narcissus Queen and her court.
Teams preparing for the main lion dance.
Performers had protective glasses, masks and earplugs because of the loud bangs, smoke and flying particles from the firecrackers.
The lions moving into position. Each lion represents an association, usually a martial arts school.
Greeting the lions for the official start.
The first string of firecrackers is lit and the dancing starts.
Firecrackers are done, time for the lions to spread out and visit the businesses in Chinatown.
The man to the left in the purple shirt is putting a gift into a lion’s mouth.
The dragons and their drummer teams will visit different enterprises to continue their dancing.
The Hawaii National Bank gets another visit by different lions, and more firecrackers are lit.
The lion is trying to reach the gift, a bunch of tangerines and an envelope, hanging above the door.
Inside the main office, where the lions go from desk to desk on the ground floor to collect red envelopes.
The drummers remain on the street, but keep on drumming while the lions are in the bank.
Each lion and drumming team has flags to identify itself.
The street cleaners were waiting on the side streets to move in to clean up the firecrackers as soon as the lions moved on.
The next day after we went to the Cousin Joe’s restaurant in Waipahu, scene of the classic car meet the week before.
The Lion came for a visit. Cousin Joe and his wife Dorothy “feeding” the Lion with lettuce. The lion chews and spits the lettuce around for good luck.
The lion and drummer team that performed at Bobs Big Bear restaurant, Joe furthest right.
T-shirts sold in Chinatown.