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Lahaina to usher in the Year of the Dog

By Staff | Feb 22, 2018

A new year blessing by Au’s Shaolin Arts Society begins at 5 p.m. on Friday by the entrance to the Wo Hing Temple building.

LAHAINA – Lahaina will celebrate the Lunar New Year of the Dog with festivities for the whole family to enjoy. Lahaina Restoration Foundation invites the public to the Wo Hing Museum & Cookhouse on Friday, Feb. 23, for a full day of cultural art activities, exciting lion dancing and historical presentations that pay tribute to Chinese New Year.

The museum will be open between 10 a.m. and 8 p.m. with free admission.

Lion dances with drums, gongs and cymbals will be performed in the museum yard at 858 Front St.

The new year blessing by Au’s Shaolin Arts Society begins at 5 p.m. 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.

The Chinese cultural celebration at Wo Hing Museum & Cookhouse features a variety of free activities between 2 and 8 p.m.

To kick-off festivities, Dr. Busaba Yip will present the history of Chinese New Year, and special guest Dennis Ryan, a collector, will talk about ancient dogs made from pottery and the importance of charms, amulets and talismans to the Chinese for good luck, health, prosperity and protection. Guests can pet a 2,000-year-old pottery dog. Yip and Ryan will do a second presentation at 6 p.m.

From 6 to 8 p.m. in the museum yard, kids can make Year of the Dog paper lanterns. Cultural activities for all ages include Chinese calligraphy with Rev. Takayuki Meguro, the art of Chinese knot tying with Brenda Wong, and the skill of mahjong playing. Chef Bobby Santos will be cooking on a wok and offering samples of Cantonese specialities. Chinese dishes and desserts by Only ‘Ono BBQ will be offered for sale.

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.

The dog is the 11th of the 12 animals in the Chinese zodiac and is especially auspicious, since Chinese legend credits the dog with saving all of mankind when, during a famine, a dog collected rice grains in his bushy tail and brought them back to feed the starving people. People born in the Year of the Dog are usually independent, sincere, loyal and decisive. They are not afraid of difficulties in daily life.

On Friday, Feb. 23, join Wo Hing Society, LahainaTown Action Committee and Lahaina Restoration Foundation to celebrate the Year of the Dog in Lahaina. Sun Nien Fai Lok – Happy New Year! Chinese New Year is sponsored by Hawaii Tourism Authority and the County of Maui Office of Economic Development.

For updates, call the Lahaina Restoration Foundation office at 661-3262, see LahainaRestoration.org/events or visit Facebook @LahainaRestoration, Twitter @LahainaRestFnd and Instagram @LahainaRestoration.