Chinese New Year festivities return to Chinatown, boosting culture and commerce

It’s not just a celebration for Chinese New Year, it’s a long-awaited restart in Chinatown.
Published: Jan. 13, 2023 at 10:25 PM HST|Updated: Jan. 13, 2023 at 10:28 PM HST
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HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - It’s not just a celebration for Chinese New Year, it’s a long-awaited restart in Chinatown.

Fireworks, the beat of the drums and lion dances are what many Chinatown businesses have been waiting to hear and see for the last three years.

“Finally, now it comes back,” said Michael Wu, owner of Tea Hut. “That’s good sign for everyone.”

Wu said sales dipped about 30% in the past few years so he’s really been looking forward to the return of the Chinese New Year festivities.

“I wish people happy new year and try their best to survive and we’re gonna have a better year,” said Wu.

Jonathan Cook, president of the Chinese Chamber of Commerce said it’s a big deal in Chinatown.

“I know it is pivotal to the bottom line many of these businesses in Chinatown as well as these vendors and many other people,” said Cook. “It’s a bedrock of this community.”

The traditional blessings, Choy Cheng kicked off on King Street Friday night.

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Mayor Rick Blangiardi helped light the fireworks to get rid of negative energy. The symbolic gesture comes after several years of work to improve Chinatown.

The city has added police officers, conducted community clean ups, relocated the River of Life Mission, and ramped up the CORE program to get homeless people medical care and resources.

On Friday, a feeling of rebirth as seven lion dance clubs came together surrounded by hundreds of people.

“All of us coming back, it just feels so great,” said Ricky Lee of the Hawaii Lion Dance Association. “You know, all of us are so happy for the celebration.”

The lunar parade will begin tomorrow Saturday, Jan. 14 at 4:30 p.m. It will go from Hotel to River Street.

There is also a night in Chinatown block party on Beretania street at Aala Park.

For a list of events, click here.