by Staff Writer
on Thursday, February 15th, 2018 at 4:17pm.
It’s again that time of year when the sounds of firecrackers and drums fill the air while Chinese lion dancers parade through the streets.
Chinese New Year, which is also known as the Lunar New Year, rings in on Feb. 16 when celebrations will kick off across the island. Maui has a rich cultural history with the festival, which is undoubtedly one of the largest seasons of festivities on island.
The celebrations have been associated with the Chinese Zodiac for about 2,500 years, and have been deeply rooted in Hawaii’s history for decades. Chinese New Year is celebrated at the turn of the traditional lunisolar Chinese calendar, which usually falls between Jan. 21 and Feb. 20.
This year marks the Year of the Dog, which commemorates one of 12 animals that compose the 12-year Chinese Zodiac cycle. On Maui, residents and visitors will be able to enjoy a free community celebration, the largest of which is taking place in Lahaina at the Wo Hing Museum and Cookhouse on Front Street.
From crimson lanterns adorning homes and streets to exchanging red envelopes as gifts, the festival is full of longstanding cultural traditions that Maui residents have participated in for decades. This year, the free festival in Lahaina features Chinese lion dancing with drums, cymbals and firecrackers, in addition to other cultural activities such as calligraphy and knot tying. There will also be presentations about Chinese New Year history, fortune-telling arts and demonstrations by martial artists.
For those Upcountry, Makawao Town has an annual celebration where the streets fill with parading lions and performers who visit the town's retail stores and businesses. At Island Sotheby's International Realty's office in Upcountry, visitors can find a head of lettuce used to feed the lion in addition to hand-written calligraphy on traditional red paper that guests can hang on their walls.
The office also collects donations that are given to the Maui Food Bank. Makawao town is definitely one of the best places to ring in the Year of the Dog!