Lahaina will celebrate the Year of the Monkey during its annual lunar new year festivities, and we invite you to the Wo Hing Museum, 858 Front Street, on Friday, February 12 for a full day of activities and presentations paying tribute to Chinese New Year. The museum will be open between 10 am and 7 pm with free admission.

An exciting lion dance with drums, gongs and cymbals and the new year blessing by Au’s Shaolin Arts Society begins at 5 pm by the entrance to the Wo Hing temple on Front Street. Lai see envelopes will be passed out to feed the lions for good luck. After firecrackers are lit in the yard, the lions will parade down Front Street, stopping in shops and restaurants until 9 pm.

The celebration at Wo Hing Museum and Cookhouse features a variety of free activities between 2 and 7 pm. Dr. Busaba Yip Douglas will present the story of Chinese New Year from 2 to 2:30 pm in the Cookhouse. She will be followed by special guest, Dennis Ryan, who will showcase his Song Dynasty tea bowls (1127-1279 CE). Chinese teas will be served in the garden from 5 to 7 pm with tea cookies for sale. Busaba and Dennis will do a second presentation between 6 and 6:30 pm.

A new addition this year comes from the Shaolin Kung Fu and Tai Chi School of Denver, Colorado. Third degree black belt students, Dennis and Anita Lunt, will present a talk on the Shaolin Kung Fu Legacy at 3 pm. They are authors of the book, “10,000 Steps Straight Up” and will be signing books for buyers. The couple has also documented the history, legends and folklore of Chinese martial arts in videos from their trips to China. They will demonstrate the Tai Chi Iron Fan form at 6:30 pm.

Chinese calligraphy will be presented from 3 to 5 pm and Brenda Wong will share the art of Chinese knot tying until 6 pm for those who want to give it a try. Hong Zhou will perform traditional music on the Erhu string instrument between 4 and 5 pm. Kids can learn a Chinese craft from 4 to 6 pm, and those interested in the divination arts can learn how Kau Chim works between 5 and 7 pm.

In China, Chinese New Year is not only the longest celebrated event but also the most important social holiday. The lunar new year begins on the second new moon following the winter solstice and ends two weeks later on the full moon. Today, the new year is a week-long public holiday so families can reunite and relax together, celebrating a year of hard work and offering wishes of good luck and prosperity in the coming year. This ninth year in the Chinese zodiac calendar is attributed to the monkey, and is said to be a year of ambition, activity and adventure.

Join us in ringing in the Year of the Monkey with a bang. Kung Hee Fat Choy! For updates, call the Wo Hing Museum at 808-661-5553 or email us and request a program.