The Lions are on the prowl in Hawaii. Actually, they are dancing their way around the island of O’ahu in anticipation of Chinese New Year - the Year of the Snake – which begins February 10th.
It is advisable to ‘feed’ the lions with a bit of money usually put in a red envelop (if you’ve got one handy). And in return the lions promise to bring good luck and prosperity.
Last week some 10 Lion Dance teams participated in a Choy Cheng ritual (‘Choy Cheng’ means picking greens) and the Lions picked fresh lettuce attached to the cash stuffed envelopes along a route through Honolulu’s Chinatown.
Honolulu celebrates the Chinese New Year with gusto and a series of fun events, like Choy Cheng. Next year we must get ourselves into town to participate!
According to local reports, the ritual dates back to the Han Dynasty (220 – 206 B.C.) Although lions weren’t indigenous to China, they had a mythical lore – representing the positive characteristics of success, strong business and courage.
Last year the Lions danced at Ko Olina one Sunday afternoon entertaining guests and staff members. Perhaps they’ll return again today – I’d think they are hungry again!