Kung hee fat choy! Happy Chinese New Year; this year is especially auspicious because it is a leap year AND it ends in a very lucky number- 8! This is the year of the rat (last year was lucky golden pig), which is also my Chinese Zodiac sign; I am a wood rat, and this year is the year of the earth rat. P.S., I knew my signs and stuff before, but if you don't take a look at wikipedia- loaded with info!
Anyway, for Chinese New Year we went to Chinatown which was fun, but really crowded. This year we went later and saw the lion parade; Chinese lions and dragons are meant for good luck. Here in Hawai`i, they are such a tradition that there are whole troops that do kung fu for one part of the year and then train for lion dancing competitions for the other part (it is an intense workout!). Also, it is traditional to have lion dances to bring good luck to shops and businesses; all the major malls had lion dances where the lions would dance around the mall and go to all the stores! Red envelope money (licee money) are given to the dragons to bring prosperity during the year. The parade this year was really great; there were so many lions! I especially loved the little baby ones (small kids in tiny lion costumes... squeak!)
Here are some videos for you; be warned- you may get dizzy watching one of them (because halfway through filming I realized it would be better to hold my digi cam the other way :)!