Kung hee fat choy!

  • Dennis Fujimoto / The Garden Island

    A shopper uses a smart phone for a photo of the Chinese lion who makes its way through Kukui Grove Center Sunday to welcome Chinese New Year.

  • Dennis Fujimoto / The Garden Island

    The girls at Deja Vu Surf Hawaii offer lai see (monetary gifts) for good fortune and prosperity to the Chinese lion Sunday during Kukui Grove Center’s celebration of Chinese New Year.

  • Dennis Fujimoto / The Garden Island

    Phyllis Tokita of the US-China Peoples Friendship Association explains the art of growing narcissus in water Sunday during Kukui Grove Center’s celebration of Chinese New Year.

  • Dennis Fujimoto / The Garden Island

    Dr. Carl Yu watches as the Chinese lion reacts to a lai see (monetary offering) from his daughter Sunday during the lion’s appearance celebrating Chinese New Year at Kukui Grove Center.

  • Dennis Fujimoto / The Garden Island

    Jacqueline Winzer-Ramos, 94, offers lai see for longevity (monetary donation) with the help of Tsunami Taiko performers to the Chinese lion Sunday during the lion’s appearance at Kukui Grove Center.

  • Dennis Fujimoto / The Garden Island

    A shopper beckons the Chinese lion with lai see (monetary donation) Sunday as Kukui Grove Center celebrates the Year of the Boar that arrives Tuesday.

Rosalind Terao said she is going to buy a lottery ticket when she gets to Seattle.

“The Year of the Pig is supposed to be good luck,” Terao said. “I was born in the Year of the Pig — it’s our year, yay! — and we’re supposed to be prosperous. You can’t get a lottery ticket here, so I’ll just wait until I get to Seattle.”

Terao was among the crowd of people watching the Chinese lion make its appearance with the Tsunami Taiko ensemble Sunday to bless businesses and people for Chinese New Year on Tuesday.

“The lion is supposed to bring good luck and prosperity,” Terao said. “When the lions come to businesses, it’s not begging — businesses are waiting to give red packets, or lai see, in exchange for the good luck. Children love to give money to the lion, too.”

Joining the lion, Phyllis Tokita and Caroline Lum of the US-China Peoples Friendship Association were demonstrating techniques of growing narcissus in water to the crowd of people getting lunch ahead of the National Football League’s Super Bowl.

“We’ve only got one medium-sized lion today,” said Joanne Parongao of the Tsunami Taiko group. “We have a little lion, but the kids who are the small lion all have their parents watching the Super Bowl game.”

Tokita said the Chinese New Year starts Tuesday, with 2019 being the Year of the Pig or Boar.

“This is supposed to be a good year for everybody,” Tokita said. “It should be prosperous and good luck. For us rats, this is a good year to invest.”

Lum said next year is the Year of the Rat, the first animal of 12 in the Chinese zodiac.

“Do you know why the rat is first?” asked Lum, who was born in the Year of the Ox. “When the animals had to swim the river, the rat was smart. He was on the ox’s back, and when the group got near the shore, he was the first to jump off.”

She said the taiko, cymbals and bell make noise to accompany the lion and chase away evil spirits.

“When the Tsunami Taiko appears Friday at The Flavors of Kukuiula at The Shops at Kukuiula, they’re supposed to be welcomed by strings of firecrackers that further chase away evil spirits,” Lum said.

The Chinese lion and firecrackers are scheduled to start at 6 p.m. Friday.

•••

Dennis Fujimoto, staff writer and photographer, can be reached at 245-0453 or dfujimoto@thegardenisland.com.

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