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2018 Happy New Year - Year of the Dog

The Lunar New Year – or Chinese New Year – is right around the corner and in Hawaii, it’s a pretty big deal. From block party celebrations to household traditions, the coming of the New Year gathers people together as they wish one another good fortune and honor ancestors.

The date of the Lunar New Year changes year to year, as it follows the lunar calendar. This year, according to Chinese astrological charts, is the Year of the Earth Dog. The Lunar New Year falls on February 16, however, you can expect people to celebrate this culturally rich and important holiday from the end of January until the middle of February.

The Chinese zodiac calendar follows a 12-year cycle with a different animal each year. Those born in 1958, 1970, 1982, 1994, 2006, and 2018 are all born in the Year of the Dog. Asian astrology believes that your birth year helps to determine your personality traits. It predicts that those born in the year of the earth dog will be communicative, serious, and responsible at work.

If you’re in Hawaii during the Lunar New Year, you won’t want to miss the popular Chinese New Year Celebration Event hosted by the Chinese Chamber of Commerce of Hawaii at Chinatown Cultural Plaza. The event takes place Friday, Feb. 9, from 5pm – 10pm and Saturday, Feb. 10 from 10am – 10pm. Guests will enjoy food and craft booths, live entertainment, cultural performances, lion and dragon dances, and more.


In addition to celebrations around the state, there are a number of rituals that island residents practice at home, that are believed to cleanse and bring good luck in the New Year.

Here are a few ways that you can set yourself up for a prosperous Lunar New Year and attract good fortune!

  • Before the New Year begins be sure to display or eat a tangerine or orange. In Chinese culture, tangerines are thought to represent wealth in the New Year as oranges symbolize good luck. The association comes from the similarities in the Chinese word for “gold” and “orange” as well as the Chinese word for “tangerine” and “gold.” Oranges and tangerines also make the perfect New Year’s gift!
  • Enjoy some Nian Gao—a rice flour, brown sugar and oil cake that is rich in taste and symbolism. ‘Gao’ in the Chinese language is also the same word for “tall” or “high,” which is why this popular treat symbolizes achieving new heights in the coming year.
  • Increase your wealth by feeding the Chinese lion. Many Lunar New Year celebrations feature lion dances and it is common practice for guests to put money in a red money envelope and feed it to lion dancers in-order to bring prosperity.
  • And of course, start the New Year fresh! Don’t forget to sweep and clean the house to get rid of all the bad luck and evil spirits that collected during the year before. But remember don’t clean right after the New Year starts, as the Chinese believe you might sweep away new good luck then!