Chinese New Year – the Year of the Rooster – began the day before my birthday on January 28, 2017 and will last until February 15, 2018. “Kung Hee Fat Choy” (Cantonese) is how we greet each other in Hawaii. What’s the difference between celebrating Chinese New Year and the regular New Year in Hawaii? Look for red firecracker paper strewn around a person’s driveway and the evidence will show you whose house is a Chinese house. Growing up in Hawaii, I remember the fun of burning firecrackers to ward off the evil spirits. Plus there were certain types of traditional foods that we had to eat, for example jai, or monk’s food, along with gau.
When we celebrated regular New Year’s, it was more about going from one relative’s house to another and burning sparklers. We would eat traditional Japanese food at one house, then traditional Chinese at another, and end up with Portuguese soup at neighbors after midnight. What fun we had! When I got older, I would go with friends to watch the aerial fireworks light up the sky, but it was hard to breathe because of all the smoke.
People born in the Year of the Rooster are characterized as honest, energetic, intelligent, flexible and confident. I was born in the Year of the Sheep which means I am tasteful, crafty, warm, elegant, charming, intuitive, sensitive, and calm. There are many resources about the Chinese zodiac and what the signs mean (if you believe that sort of thing).
One year we were in San Francisco on Chinese New Year and it was great to watch the parade and enjoy the festivities. You don’t need to be Chinese to enjoy the celebration.
Aloha, Mele Fong aka Ukulele Mele