The Chinese New Year will be celebrated early this year by the members of the Chinese Civic Association of Hawaii with a banquet on Sunday, Feb. 3, at ‘Imiloa Astronomy Center in Hilo. According to the Chinese zodiac, the Year of the Snake is set to begin on Feb. 10.
The banquet will feature a menu of nine courses of Chinese dishes, specially prepared by the chefs at Sky Garden for the annual event. As always, tickets to the banquet were snapped up by the association’s members and their invited guests, long before any public announcement was made.
Besides food, there will be a program to entertain guests at the banquet.
The traditional Chinese year goes by the lunar calendar. Each month on the lunar calendar follows one cycle of the moon, while the Gregorian calendar used universally is based on solar phases. Not only in China, the lunar calendar is widely used in a number of Asian countries to mark major festivals, such as Dragon Boat Festival and Moon Festival, or a date for wedding or groundbreaking for construction of a building. In China, the Chinese new year also is known as Spring Festival.
Each lunar year is said to be ruled by an animal — real or legendary. The current lunar year, which ends Feb. 9, is the Year of the Dragon. The zodiac lists 12 animals, beginning on the year of rat, followed by ox, tiger, rabbit, dragon, snake, horse, sheep, monkey, rooster, dog and pig. It’s a 12-year cycle, The current cycle began nearly six years ago. Six more years later — after the Year of the Pig — the cycle begins again with rat.
The celebration of the new year traditionally lasts 15 days.