You don’t have to have Chinese heritage to ring in the Year of the Rooster in Hawaii! The Chinese New Year is officially underway, but on Maui, they like to do things on “Hawaii Time.” So, the folks there are celebrating on Friday, February 3rd (six days later than the offical Chinese New Year).

That means, YOU still have time to join the new year festivities in Lahaina on Maui!

According to the Lahaina Restoration Foundation, in China, Chinese New Year is not only the longest celebrated event but also the most important social holiday. The lunar new year begins on the second new moon following the winter solstice and ends two weeks later on the full moon. Today, the new year is a week-long public holiday so families can reunite and relax together, celebrating a year of hard work and offering wishes of good luck and prosperity in the coming year. This tenth year in the Chinese zodiac calendar is attributed to the rooster, and is said to be a year of powerful energy, financial windfall with hard work and a movement toward integrity.

Here are some of the highlights of this year’s celebration:

    • FAMILY ACTIVITIES AT THE WO HING MUSEUM AND COOKHOUSE
      • The museum will be open between 10 am and 8 pm with free admission. The cultural celebration at Wo Hing Museum & Cookhouse features a variety of free activities between 2:30 and 8 pm. To kick-off festivities, Dr. Busaba Yip will present the history of Chinese New Year and special guest, Dennis Ryan, will speak on the Rituals of Divination as seen in “bird script” on bones and turtle belly shells. This form of oracle writing, which is more than 3,000 years old, is thought to be the origin of Chinese calligraphy. Busaba and Dennis will do a second presentation at 6:30 pm.
wo hing museum and cookhouse in lahaina on maui

Photo: Hawaii Tourism Authority

The Wo Hing Museum and Cookhouse is the main site of many of the Chinese New Year attractions in Lahaina.
    • MARTIAL ARTS
      • Adventurers and historians on China’s kung fu martial arts, Dennis and Anita Lunt of Denver, Colorado return to the festival to demonstrate the Tai Chi Iron Fan art form at 4 pm, and the Shaolin Animal Style Kung Fu martial art at 6 pm. After their performances, the Lunts will be signing their book of adventure stories with photographs from their travels, “10,000 Steps Straight Up: Inspirational Short Stories from Sacred Mountains.” They have documented the history, legends and folklore of Chinese martial arts in photos and videos from their trips to China.
    • LION DANCES
      • Exciting lion dances with drums, gongs and cymbals will be performed in the museum yard at 858 Front Street. The new year blessing by Au’s Shaolin Arts Society begins at 5 pm by the entrance to the Wo Hing temple building. Lai see envelopes will be handed out to feed the lions for good luck. After firecrackers are lit in the yard, the lions dance down Front Street, stopping in shops and restaurants until 9 pm.
    • CULTURAL ACTIVITIES
      • Cultural activities for all ages will be held from 6 to 8 pm in the museum yard. Kids can make Year of the Rooster noise makers. Chinese calligraphy will be presented by Amy Lum, and Brenda Wong will share the art of Chinese knot tying for those who want to give it a try. Hong Zhou will perform traditional music on the bamboo flute and erhu string instruments. Chef Bobby Santos will be cooking on a wok and offering samples of Crispy Cantonese Gau Gee. Teas will be served with fortune cookies under umbrellas in the Chinese tea garden.
Lahaina, Maui will play host to Chinese New Year celebrations and cultural exhibits beginning Friday, February 3rd.

Here’s a detailed breakdown of activities:

  • 2:30 – 3:30 pm  History of Chinese New Year and Rituals of Divination Talk
    with Dr. Busaba Yip and Collector Dennis Ryan
  • 4 – 5 pm  Tai Chi Iron Fan Art Performance by Dennis & Anita Lunt
    followed by book signing for “10,000 Steps Straight Up”
  • 5 – 6 pm  Exciting Lion Dances with drums, gongs, cymbals,
    martial arts and firecrackers by Au’s Shaolin Arts Society
  • 6 – 6:30 pm  Shaolin Animal Style Kung Fu Art Performance by Dennis & Anita Lunt followed by book signing for “10,000 Steps Straight Up”
  • 6 – 8 pm  Kids’ Craft: Year of the Rooster Noise Makers

Chinese Calligraphy with Amy Lum
Chinese Knot Tying with Brenda Wong
Bamboo Flute & Erhu String Instrumental Performance by Hong Zhou
Cantonese Food Tasting with Chef Bobby Santos
Teas & Fortune Cookies served in the Tea Garden

  • 6:30 – 7:30 pm  History of Chinese New Year and Rituals of Divination Talk
    with Dr. Busaba Yip and Collector Dennis Ryan
  • 8 pm  Festivities end at Wo Hing Museum
  • Lions dance down Front Street until 9 pm

Why not make Lahaina on Maui an extended stop during your Maui Sightseeing Tour on February 3rd?! Or, make it a full-day adventure with the family? Maybe you’ll want to immerse yourself in Chinese culture for the day?

No matter how you participate, you’ll want to make sure you join the party!


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