Well, it’s the Year of the Pig, or Boar of the Year 4704 for most of the Chinese around the world. This means a month long celebration comparable to Christmas, Thanksgiving and Mardi Gras, rolled into one to the Western World. Time for friends and families to visit with each other, bringing small gifts, serving snacks and foods to guests, with many symbolic meaning behind them, having firecrackers and Lion and Dragon dances on the streets and town squares as well as entertainment of folk dances, martial arts, operas and what not.
Like other cities with a fair size of ethnic Chinese, Honolulu Chinatowns are also lively with shops selling Good Luck Objects, special sweets and foods and holding block parties with all types of Vendors and entertainment. The past weekend events was held at the Chinese Cultural Plaza, located at the northern end of Chinatown. Next weekend, streets of the main Chinatown will be blocked off to traffic for food and souvenir stalls and stages for entertainment.
Special foods such as Gau, a pudding made of sticky rice powder, sweetened with coconut milk and a brownish sugar, symbolizing cohesiveness in the family. It’s quite delicious, even to the
uninitiated and may resemble somewhat like Taffy. Another dish, traditional for New Year is the Vegetarian Monk’s Food, made of Mung Bean Thread or Vermicelli, ginko nuts, black mushrooms and fungus, soybean sticks, deep fried oil tofu (Japanese-aburage), won bok, Chinese dates, etc. and flavored with fermented red bean sauce closely related to Japanese Red Miso. In spite of the many ingredients, it’s quite a bland dish and may be an acquired taste for some. However, I do hear some people say they love it. Traditionally it should be the only food to be consumed on New Years Day, but I suspect many are not abiding by this tradition, but serving it along with all the other rich foods of spring rolls, chow mein, roast duck and chicken, sweet sour pork, Mongolian beef, Shrimp Canton, fried oysters or oyster rolls, whole fish, etc. etc.
Many types of entertainment were held in the past weekend celebration, with children from Mainland China and Taiwan, as well as local Chinese groups and non-Chinese, such as Middle Eastern Dancers, AKA Belly Dancers, Break Dancers and a well-know local comedian by the name of Frank DeLima who does Local jokes to the Max. At
least 5 Lion Dance Club participated and played at the same time with ear splitting Drumming and popping of firecrackers.
A contest is held to select a Narcissus Queen and Court based on Beauty, talent, poise, etc. The Narcissus is the symbolic for the New Years and is called Sui Sin Fa or Water Fairy Flower.
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